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    Thursday, January 17, 2019

    Roast Chicken Breasts With A Twist

    Most of the time, I really like to cook with Chicken Thighs but there are times when we need a change and these Chicken Breasts were on special. Always love a bargain
    This was really loved by the Family, its so simple and quick to prepare
    You will see the recipe calls for Italian Seasoned Breadcrumbs
    I just added a good shake of dried Oregano and some salt and freshly ground black pepper
    That seems like Italian to me
    4 Boneless Chicken Breasts
    1 cup Shredded Cheddar Cheese
    2 cloves Garlic, Minced
    2 tablespoons Butter
    1 Cup Seasoned Italian Breadcrumbs
    2 Cups Olive Oil
    2 Eggs
    1 teaspoon Mustard Powder
    1 teaspoon  Sea Salt
    1 1/2 tsp Lemon Juice
    Zest of 1 Lemon

    Preheat the oven to 200C and 
    Place the chicken breasts on a baking sheet. 
    Combine the eggs, ½ cup olive oil, mustard powder, and salt in a blender. 

    Drizzle in the remaining olive oil while the blender is on. 
    Once the mixture has thickened, add in the lemon juice and stir slowly. 
    Combine the cheese, garlic, lemon zest and the olive oil mixture in a bowl and mix well. 
    Spread the sauce over the chicken and sprinkle with pepper.
    In a small saucepan melt the butter and stir in the breadcrumbs. 
    Sprinkle the breadcrumbs over the chicken breasts,
     and bake for 30 minutes.
    Serve with some Roasted Potatoes and a nice bright Green Vege, in this case Green Beans and Broccoli  Delicious

    Wednesday, January 16, 2019

    Cranberry and Cilantro Quinoa Salad 

    Quinoa, Quinoa Quinoa...its only a few years ago that this word was not even in my vocabulary.
    BUT now its everywhere.
    The Trendy Grain...well...Quinoa isn't really a grain. It's the seed of a plant that's related to spinach, not to wheat. Quinoa first was cultivated in South America, where it grows in the Andes mountain range. Quinoa grows best in cool climates and at high altitudes, generally above 8,000 feet.

    So lesson does make a good salad though, also the flakes are excellent to crumb fish for those not wanting to eat  wheat.

    Members of our family went grain free for a while and when hunting for recipes to feed them I came across this little beauty
    It is really tasty and makes a change from brown rice!!!
    So you need

        1 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed

        2 cups water  
        Sea salt

1/4 cup red bell pepper, chopped

1/4 cup yellow bell pepper, chopped

1 small red onion, finely chopped

Salt and Freshly ground Black Pepper
        1/4 cup chopped fresh coriander
1 lime, juiced

1/4 cup toasted sliced almonds

1/2 cup minced carrots

1/2 cup dried cranberries

         Extra Virgin Olive Oil

    Add quinoa to pot and cover with the water
    Add salt
    Bring to the boil
    Cover and simmer over low heat till quinoa has absorbed all of the water
    15-20 minutes
    Scrape into a mixing bowl, and chill in the refrigerator until cold.

    Meanwhile place the red bell pepper, yellow bell pepper, 
    red onion, sliced almonds, carrots, and cranberries into a bowl
    Add coriander and lime juice
    Mix together 
    How about that for colour
    Add to the Quinoa
    Drizzle over about 3 tablespoons of Olive Oil

    Monday, January 14, 2019

    A Tasty Meat Sauce for Pasta

    I know we all have our meat sauce that we call our own, this is very similar to one that I usually make, in fact almost identical
    Thank you Bon Appetit for the inspiration, I read this in the morning and voila.. on the table for dinner
     It is a meat sauce not a tomato sauce, which I like a lot
    I used Rigatoni
    Those little ridges capture the sauce perfectly

    1 medium onion, chopped

    1 celery stalk, chopped

    1 small carrot, peeled, chopped

    3 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

    1 lb. good ground beef  (20% fat), patted dry

    Sea salt

    3 oz. thinly sliced Pancetta, finely chopped

    1 cup dry white wine

    ⅓ cup tomato puree, I like to use Passata, not so intense
    1 bay leaf

    Pinch of finely grated nutmeg

    2 cups (or more) homemade chicken stock or low-sodium chicken broth

    1 cup milk

    1 lb. fresh tagliatelle or pappardelle, or dry rigatoni
    2 oz. finely grated Parmesan (about ½ cup), plus more for serving

    Pulse onion, celery, and carrot in a food processor until very finely chopped.
    Transfer to a small bowl.

    Heat oil in a large pot over medium.
    Break beef into small clumps (about 1½") and add to pot;
    Season lightly with salt and freshly ground black pepper 
    Cook, stirring occasionally but not breaking meat apart,
    until beef is lightly browned but not crisp, 6–8 minutes.
    It may be gray in spots (that’s okay!) and still a little pink in the center.
    Using a slotted spoon, transfer beef to a medium bowl.

    Wipe out pot.
    Cook pancetta in pot over medium heat, stirring occasionally,
    until pancetta has released some of its fat and is crisp, 6–8 minutes.
    Add onion mixture to pot and cook, stirring occasionally,
    until vegetables are very soft and beginning to stick to surface, 6–8 minutes.

    Return beef to pot and pour in wine.
    Reduce heat to medium-low and cook,
    smashing down on beef with a wooden spoon, until wine is evaporated,
    surface of pot is almost dry, and meat is finely ground, 12–15 minutes.
    (The meat should be reduced to what looks like little bits.
    It takes a bit of effort, but you can take breaks.)
    Add tomato paste, bay leaf, and nutmeg and cook,
    stirring occasionally and still pressing down on meat, until tomato paste is slightly darkened,
    about 5 minutes.

     Pour stock and milk into pot; add a pinch of salt.
    Reduce heat to the lowest setting and cook, stirring occasionally,
    until meat is very, very tender, 2–2½ hours.
    There shouldn’t be any rapid bubbles at this stage.
    Instead, the sauce should release the occasional small bubble or two.
    When finished, the sauce should have the texture of and look like a sloppy joe mixture.
    If the liquid reduces before the meat is completely tender,
    add an extra ½ cup stock and continue cooking.
    Discard bay leaf. Taste sauce and adjust seasoning with salt;
    keep warm.

    Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water.
    If using fresh pasta, cook about 3 minutes.
    If using dry, cook until very al dente, about 2 minutes less than package directions.

    Using tongs, transfer pasta to pot with sauce.
    Add 1 cup pasta cooking liquid and ½ cup Parmesan.
    Increase heat to medium, bring to a simmer, and cook, tossing constantly,
    until pasta is al dente and liquid is slightly thickened, about 2 minutes.

    Transfer pasta to a platter and top with more Parmesan.

    Do Ahead: Sauce can be made 4 days ahead. Cover and chill.

    Also sitting on my table, my 2 friends and some beautiful Gardenias
    Straight from the Garden

    Saturday, December 15, 2018

    The Rainbow Plate -The More Colour in Your Food - The Better

    Plus Such a Pleasure to Eat
    Two very simple ideas to "colourize" your Table
    For this Salad I used
    Bag of mixed leaves plus 1/2 bag of Rocket
    2 radishes sliced
    Stick of celery chopped
    2 San Manzano Tomatoes Chopped 
    1 Avocado, peeled and sliced
    Bunch of chives chopped  for that onion boost
    3 tablespoons of French Dressing

    Just layer your lettuce and rocket
    Scatter all the chopped vege over
    Drizzle the French dressing
    Hands in and toss

    Next... the Asparagus Season is nearly over and we can really never get enough of it but I thought I would pretty it up, for a change
    Asparagus tailed and cooked to al dente
    1 medium Red Onion Chopped
    1 Corn Cob freshly shucked, kernels sliced off
    Little chopped parsley

    Good Olive oil
    Sea salt and freshly Ground Black Pepper 
    Juice and zest of a lemon

    I find the best way to poach Asparagus, is to cook it in a shallow pan
    Plenty of room to lay it out, in its full glory
    Bring the pan of water to the boil
    Add Salt and a slug of Olive Oil
    Add Asparagus and cook till knife just goes through
    Probably only 3-5 minutes at most

    Drain and put into bowl of salted iced water  to stop it cooking and keep the lovely green colour

    Saute Onion in 3 tablespoons Olive oil till translucent,
    Add Corn Kernels
    Toss around for a couple of minutes, just to take the rawness out of the corn
    Season with Salt and Pepper
    Zest the Lemon over the top plus the Juice and Parsley
    Toss to blend and pour over the Asparagus

    How pretty is that?

    Not Only Spinach But Also Mushroom - Little Pastries to Have with Drinks

    Two of my favourite appetizers to have with drinks.
    Mushroom Savouries and Spinach Puffs
    Both have been particularly popular when I've served them
    I had some mushroom filling leftover, so what better way to use it up try the Spinach Puff Method
    So here ya go...yet another idea to feed those guests
    Mushroom Filling.
    ¼ cup unsalted butter
    4 green onions chopped
    2 tablespoons minced parsley
    2 tablespoons minced chives
    250 gm mushrooms finely chopped
    3 tablespoons flour
    ¾ cup cream
    ¼ teaspoon dried thyme or 1 teaspoon fresh thyme finely chopped
    ¼ teaspoon cayenne
    1 ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    Sea salt
    1 tablespoons lemon juice
    Frozen Puff Pastry Sheets
    Grated Parmesan Cheese.
    2 tablespoons butter at room temperature
    1 large tomato deseeded and cut into cubes
    Parsley chopped 
    1 egg beaten with a little water

    Melt butter in a skillet over medium heat
    Add green onions parsley and chives
    Cook until wilted about 3 minutes
    Add mushrooms
    Cook 10 minutes, or until liquid evaporates.
    Sprinkle flour over mixture, stir till blended
    Cook 2 minutes stirring it will be dry be careful it doesn’t stick to pan.
    Stir in cream, thyme cayenne freshly ground black pepper, salt and lemon juice.
    Reduce heat to low cook 5 minutes or until thickened.
    Meanwhile defrost the pastry and cut into 9 squares
    Lightly grease mini patty tins, Press each square into a hole
    Fill with Mushrooms and put a little cube of tomato on  top
    Finely grate Parmesan Cheese over the top
    Fold the edges in and pop a piece of parsley on top
    Brush with egg wash and bake at 190C
    Turn the tray once after 15 mins, then continue to bake until Golden
    About another 10 minutes

    Here they are all packed up ready for me to deliver today

    Can't wait to try them

    Chicken Fricasse by Gordon - Thumbs Up from All the Family

    I was perusing My Gordon Ramsay Cookbook, actually looking for Chicken Gravy for Christmas Day. In passing I saw this recipe for Chicken Fricasse
    As luck would have it, we had a whole Chicken in the Freezer
    So got my butchering skill (?) possibly not skill but I cut the chicken in edible pieces
    This recipe was so popular with the family, it is on the list of favourites.
    As you can see we served it with Cous Cous, Peas and Cabbage
    Thank you Mr Ramsay
    1 large free-range chicken, jointed into 8 pieces
    (2 drumsticks, 2 thighs, 2 breasts cut in half)
    150g smoked bacon lardons
    4 garlic cloves, peeled and bashed
    150g chestnut mushrooms, halved
    1 bay leaf 2 rosemary sprigs
    2 thyme sprigs, leaves only
    75ml brandy
    450ml chicken stock
    100 mls cream
    Small handful of parsley, chopped
    Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

    Place a large heavy-based sauté pan over a medium heat and add the olive oil.
    Season the chicken, add to the hot pan and sauté for 3–4 minutes on one side, until golden.
    Turn the chicken, then add the lardons, garlic and mushrooms and mix well. 
    Stir in the bay, rosemary and thyme.  
    Add the brandy and, very carefully, tilt the hot pan towards the lit gas to ignite the alcohol and flambé the chicken. 
    This must be done cautiously because it will create a huge flame.
    (Couldn't capture the flame unfortunately)
    Allow it to die down, then lower the heat slightly and simmer gently for 2–3 minutes.
    Pour in the chicken stock and bring to a gentle simmer.
    Cook uncovered for 10 minutes, then cover and cook for a further 15–20 minutes, until all the chicken pieces are done.
    Transfer them to a plate, then increase the heat under the pan for a few minutes to reduce and slightly thicken the sauce.
    n.b. I didn’t want to reduce the sauce too much or it could have been a bit salty
    so I added Cream to thicken slightly
    Return the chicken to the pan and spoon the sauce over it.
    Before serving, discard the garlic, rosemary and bay leaf,
    and sprinkle with the chopped parsley. 

    Can't get much better than that

    Have You Tried This Dip It’s Amazing - Hot Black Bean Tex Mex Dip

    That was the cry from a satisfied guest
    We were holding a celebration drinks party for my Daughter’s Graduation
    I was on food,
    I made some of the usual Suspects
    Chicken Sandwiches, Spinach Puffs, Mushroom Tarts, Guacamole, Blinis with Creme Fraiche and Smoked Salmon
    We thought we should try something new... A Hot Bean Dip perhaps?
    So I surfed the Net and found this recipe on the Allrecipes site
    This is a keeper and we will make it again
    It’s not the prettiest dish but look at the wonderful ingredients

    So you will need
    1 400 gm can black beans, rinsed and drained
    1 teaspoon vegetable oil
    1/2 cup chopped onion
    2 cloves garlic, minced
    1/2 cup fresh corn kernels
    3/4 cup chopped tomatoes
    1/2 cup mild picante sauce
    1 teaspoon ground cumin
    1 teaspoon chili powder
    1/2 cup shredded Tasty cheese
    1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
    1 tablespoon fresh lime juice 

    Place black beans in a medium size mixing bowl,
    partially mash beans -- beans should remain a little chunky.
    Add cumin
    In a medium size frying pan, heat oil over a medium heat. 
    Stir in onion and garlic and sauté for 4 minutes.
    Mix beans, corn, tomato, picante sauce, and chili powder into the frying pan; 
    Cook for 5 minutes or until thickened.
    Remove the pan from the heat,
    Mix in cheese, cilantro and lime juice; 
    Stir until cheese is melted. 

    Corn chips best on the side

    Saturday, December 01, 2018

    Yummy Chicken Salad with a Creamy Miso Dressing

    When you need another Chicken Salad recipe. This works a treat
    In the weekends we usually buy a Rotisserie Chicken from the Deli
    Strip the chicken off the bones. Dress it. Make stock with the bones  Waste not Want Not
    In this part of the world it is heating up. The Pohutakawa trees are in Bloom
    Summer is here. Not quite the Hazy, Lazy days yet but it's a start
    The difference here is the dressing using White Miso and Tahini along with other basic Asian flavour, Citrus, Fish Sauce, Soy Sauce. What more could one ask for

    So you need
        4 slices bacon

        1 1½-inch piece ginger, peeled, cut into very thin matchsticks

        1 tablespoon soy sauce

        1 tablespoon tahini

        1 tablespoon white miso

        2 teaspoons fish sauce

        ¾ teaspoon toasted sesame oil

        Pinch of sugar

        4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, divided

        1 large egg yolk

        ¾ cup vegetable oil, divided

        Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper 

        1 small rotisserie chicken, skin removed, meat shredded (about 4 cups)

        1 head of green leaf lettuce, cut crosswise into ½-inch-thick ribbons

        2 scallions, thinly sliced

        Toasted sesame seeds (for serving)

    Cook bacon in a dry medium skillet over medium heat, turning slices occasionally, until brown and crisp, 5–8 minutes. 
    Transfer to paper towels; let cool.

    Cook ginger in a small saucepan of boiling water 1 minute. 
    Drain ginger and rinse under cold water; set aside.

    Whisk soy sauce, tahini, miso, fish sauce, sesame oil, sugar, 
    and 2 Tbsp. lemon juice in a small bowl until smooth.

    Whisk egg yolk and remaining 2 Tbsp. lemon juice in a medium bowl to combine. 
    Very gradually stream in ½ cup vegetable oil (almost drop by drop), whisking constantly until mayonnaise is emulsified and thick. 
    Still whisking constantly, gradually add soy sauce mixture, then remaining ¼ cup oil. 
    Thin dressing with a tablespoon or two of water if needed; 
    you want it to be the consistency of heavy cream. 
    Season with salt and pepper.

    Toss chicken and ½ cup dressing in a large bowl to coat. 
    Below Mise en Place Ready to serve
    Add lettuce and another ½ cup dressing and toss again; season with salt and pepper. 
    Crumble bacon over.

    Transfer salad to a serving bowl or platter and drizzle another tablespoon or so of dressing over salad (you may have some left over). 
    Top with scallions, sesame seeds, and reserved ginger.

    Do Ahead: Dressing can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill.

    Perfect for a Summers Day

    Tuesday, November 20, 2018

    Chicken and Cheese - Perfect Pairing- I call it Chicken Deluxe

    Once again devising a menu from the fridge and pantry
    I had read about Chicken coated in a Mayo and cheese mix.
    It really worked tender and juicy and plenty of flavour
    You couldn’t get anything easier
    I thought I would call this Chicken Deluxe
    It was pretty delicious, well deserving of the flash name

    On the side, Roast Potato Cubes and Greens a la Gilli Style, always popular with the kids
    This amount will feed 6 people out in our case 5 with leftovers

    You will need
    A mix of boneless, skinless chicken breasts and thighs
    For this amount of sauce, I had 3 breasts and 4 thighs
    1 cup mayonnaise (for a healthier option, use plain Greek yogurt in place of the mayo)
    1/2 cup Parmesan  or Pecorino cheese
    Zest of 1 Lemon
    2 cloves of garlic finely chopped
    1 tsp seasoning salt
    1/2 tsp black pepper
    1/2 cup Breadcrumbs toasted in a little butter

    A potato per person peeled and and cut into cubes
    Olive oil and salt and pepper

    Handful of Green beans, a head Broccoli and 1 courgette turned into noodles
    Olive oil,
    Zest of lemon
    2 cloves garlic chopped with sea salt
    freshly ground black pepper

    For the Chicken
    In a bowl, combine the mayonnaise (or yogurt if substituting), cheese, garlic, lemon zest and the seasonings.
    Oil a baking dish, sprinkle with salt and pepper
    Pat the chicken dry with a paper towel, lay it out in the baking dish
    Spread the mixture on top of each of the chicken breasts.
    Sprinkle the breadcrumbs over the chicken
    Place chicken into a baking dish and bake in a preheated oven,
    200C for about 30 minutes, or until cooked through.
    Rest for about 12 minutes
    Serve warm or room temperature
    The Potatoes
    Bring the cubes to the boil from cold salted water
    simmer about 5 minutes
    Drain well
    Toss in some olive oil
    Roast at 200C for about 4 minutes
    then add the chicken to oven and complete the cooking for another 30 minutes

    Turn potatoes out in a colander lined with paper towels season with sea salt

    For the Greens
    Blanch the green beans in boiling water about 2 minutes. drain and set aside
    In the same water add the broccoli, blanch for about 4 minutes
    Drain and set aside

    In a large skillet add 2 tablespoons olive oil
    Sauté the garlic lightly…don’t brown
    Grate in the zest of the lemon

    Add the Zucchini Noodles toss well
    Season with a little salt and pepper
    Add Green beans and Broccoli
    Toss around and sauté for about 3-4 minutes
    To serve
    Slice the Chicken, spoon over juice from the pan
    and decorate with potatoes and green vege
    Food fit for a King

    Wednesday, November 14, 2018

    Coconut Chicken Curry

    When I first made this curry, I used Curry Powder, but this week I used a Curry Paste
    I think it was a more exciting flavour
    Also I rubbed the chicken thighs with the paste and roasted them
    Then pulled the meat apart. Great flavour on the chicken
    But if you follow the recipe below It becomes a very quick curry
    A Curry in a Hurry in fact.
    Very popular with the kids and the Adults
    I found this recipe on the Epicurious Site
    This feeds six

    1 medium onion roughly chopped
    1 tablespoon oil
    1 kilo chicken boneless, skinless  thighs chopped
    2 Sachets of Asian Gourmet Curry Paste… the Vietnamese Flavour
    1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
    1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    2 tablespoons virgin coconut or vegetable oil (plus 2 teaspoons; optional)

    2 x 400 ml cans coconut milk (preferably full-fat)
    1 (2 1/2") piece ginger, peeled and rough chopped
    4 garlic cloves, peeled
    1/4 cup raw cashews, chopped (optional)
    1 1/2 teaspoons yellow and/or black mustard seeds (optional)
    1 packet baby spinach
    Cilantro leaves with tender stems and cooked rice or naan (Indian flatbread; for serving)

    Toss chicken with curry paste, salt, and pepper in a medium bowl.
    Heat 1 Tbsp. oil in a large skillet (at least 12" in diameter) over medium-high.
    Add onion and cook, stirring, until softened, about 2 minutes.
    add 1 sachet of curry paste, stir
    and cook for another couple of minutes remove and set aside
    Add more oil and saute chicken till brown
    You may need to do it in batches
    Meanwhile Purée coconut milk, ginger, and garlic in a blender until very smooth.

    Add coconut milk mixture and cooked onion to the chicken in the pan
    and cook, tossing occasionally, until chicken is cooked through and sauce has thickened, 7-10 minutes.
    Add spinach to pan sprinkle with salt and pepper
    and blend in till spinach is wilted. about a minute or two
    Meanwhile, if using, heat 2 tsp. oil in a small skillet over medium.
    Add cashews and mustard seeds and cook, stirring, until fragrant and lightly browned, 2–3 minutes.
     Immediately transfer nut mixture including the oil to a small bowl.

    Serve the Curry over rice
    Garnish with Cashews, Coriander and Red Pepper
     Delicious, Pretty and So so simple