26 July 2016

Sweet and sour power

I came across this recipe on another foodie blog yesterday.  It was titled Healthy Sweet and Sour Chicken.  Healthy because the chicken was shallow- rather than deep-fried.  I'm not convinced that this makes the meal overly healthy, given it still contains a truckload of sugar.  However, it was very quick and easy to make, contains veges (and you could easily add more in), and was incredibly tasty.  I will definitely be making it again.  This fed 4 people, and you'll likely find you have some sauce leftover, which could be thrown into a lasagna sauce, or some kind of curry, or...  So - I totally recommend this meal, but enjoy it for it's ease and taste, not for its health benefits.  ;) 

2-3 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized chunks
1/3 cup cornflour 
oil/butter for frying
1 capsicum (I used red), chopped
cup of greens - I used combination of peas and very finely chopped broccoli
1/2 onion, diced
pineapple chunks, optional

1 cup sugar 
1 cup apple cider vinegar
juice of 2-3 limes
4 tbsp soy sauce
italian seasoning
2 large clove garlic, crushed or finely diced
1/2 cup tomato sauce
2 tbsp cornflour + 4 tbsp water
  1. Start by preparing the sauce - bring all sauce ingredients, except the cornflour and water, to the boil in a small saucepan.  Lower heat and stir until sugar is dissolved.  Whisk together the cornflour and water, until cornflour is dissolved, and stir into sauce, stirring until thickened.  Either remove from heat, or keep on a low heat (depending how far in advance you're making the sauce - I made it earlier in the day, then reheated it when we cooked the chicken and ate).  
  2. Put some rice on, so it's ready when the chicken's ready.  
  3. Put chicken pieces and cornflour into a large ziplock bag.  Seal and shake, to coat the chicken.  Heat oil/butter in a large pan, add coated chicken and saute over medium heat for about 5 minutes.  Add capsicum, onion and greens (you could use a green capsicum, if you don't have, or don't feel like, other greens).  Continue to cook until chicken browning and cooked through.  
  4. Add sauce to chicken, stir through and serve with rice or roti.  Top with a few pieces of pineapple.  

25 July 2016

Pavlova - need I say more?

Pavlova is a kiwi icon, as much a part of our national psyche as jandals, rugby and the buzzy bee.  It's featured on stamps, for goodness sake, and no Christmas season would be complete without at least one serving (and leftovers for breakfast, if you're really lucky).  

My Mum has always made a kick-ass pav.  I've never actually gotten around to making one (leave it to the expert, is my excuse), but while watching Mum whip a couple up on Sunday (she was making them for her fellow staff at school, best morning tea shout EVER) I thought that perhaps it was time I wrote out her recipe, and shared the love with you all.  Recipes abound in NZ, but they're all a variation on the theme of meringue, cream and awesomeness.  

6 egg whites (I'd use the yolks for an omelette, or as a treat for our dog)
2 cups sugar
4 heaped dessert spoons cornflour
1 tsp vanilla essence
2 tsp vinegar
1/4 cup boiling water
whipped cream and fruit/chocolate for topping
  1. Beat all together until thick.  Arrange on lined baking tray. 
  2. Bake at 180 degrees celcius for 12 minutes then reduce to 120 and bake for further 48 minutes.  
  3. Remove from oven, and when cool dress the pav.   

05 July 2016

Creamy garlic parmesan chicken

A couple of weeks ago I stumbled on a recipe for what was basically a creamy chicken casserole, on Damn Delicious.  Basic or otherwise, it did indeed look and sound damn delicious, so I saved it with the promise to try it one day soon. 

That one day was yesterday.  We whipped it up last night, teamed with some steamed greens.  It was delicious!  I made a couple of minor amendments, mainly to do with the amount of time the sauce was in the oven (so as not to end up with little or no sauce!), and added a couple of extras.  Next time I think I'll try using coconut cream in place of the half and half.  And maybe use a little more stock, so there's a little more sauce.  

Buon appetito!  

4-6 chicken thighs (I used skinless, boneless) 
1 tbsp Italian seasoning (Simon Gault's is really nice)
salt and pepper
3 tbsp butter
2-3 cups baby spinach, chopped up
500 g potatoes, chopped into large bite-size pieces
handful fresh parsley or coriander, chopped up

1/4 cup butter
3-4 cloves garlic, crushed 
2 tbsp flour
1 cup (or more) fresh chicken stock (powdered at a pinch, but it is a lot saltier) 
2 tsp dried oregano (or thyme, basil...) 
1/4 cup milk 
1/4 cup cream 
1/2 - 1 cup grated parmesan 

sesame seeds
lime wedges 
  1. Season chicken with seasoning and salt and pepper, preferably a couple of hours before you intend to start cooking.  
  2. Melt 2 tbsp butter in pan and sear chicken on both sides.  Place into greased casserole dish.  Surround with potatoes.  
  3. Melt 1 tbsp butter in pan and saute spinach for a minute, until wilted.  Sprinkle over the chicken.  Do the same with fresh herbs.  
  4. Place in the oven at 200 degrees celcius and bake for about 15-20 minutes.  
  5. To make the sauce melt the butter in a pot.  Saute garlic for a half minute then stir in flour.  Add stock and stir until beginning to thicken.  
  6. Add milk, cream and cheese, stir until smooth and remove from heat.  
  7. Remove chicken from the oven and pour sauce over, covering all completely.  Sprinkle with seeds and return to the oven (reduced to 150) for a further 15-20 minutes.  
  8. Squeeze lime over servings once plated and serve with greens.