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Category Archives: Savoury Food

Hunter Chicken or Chicken Chasseur

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32DE12DD-1A2B-4BFB-AEDE-149E7A6EC50DAn old favourite from the 70s, this is a really simple dish based on the French classic. I prefer to call it Hunter Chicken – it sounds earthier and more rustic than the French original!

My version is loosely based on a James Martin recipe for Chicken Chasseur.

Ingredients

2 chicken breasts and 2 chicken thighs, skin on (or any combination of chicken pieces to make up the equivalent of 1/2 chicken)
Salt and ground black pepper
25g plain flour
1 tbsp olive oil
50g butter
50g bacon rashers, chopped into pieces
100g button mushrooms
3-4 shallots, thickly sliced
1 tsp caster sugar
100 mls white wine
200 mls chicken stock
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 tsp thyme leaves, finely chopped
1/2 tsp rosemary, finely chopped
1 tbsp flat leaf parsley, finely chopped

Method

Place the chicken in a large ziplock bag and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper then add the flour and toss to coat.

Heat a large frying pan until hot, add the oil and half the butter then fry the chicken pieces, skin side down, for 1-2 minutes until golden-brown. Turn the chicken and fry on the other side for another 1-2 minutes.

Heat another frying pan until hot, add the remaining butter and fry the bacon and button mushrooms until they are brown. Add the shallots and then the caster sugar and fry for 2-3 minutes until brown and caramelised.

Pour the wine into the frying pan, stirring to deglaze, making sure you scrape all the goodness from the bottom of the pan.

Spoon or carefully pour the bacon and mushroom mixture over the chicken in the other frying pan. Add the stock and tomato paste to the chicken and bring to the boil.

Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 30-40 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through and the liquid slightly reduced.

When the chicken is cooked, scatter the dish with the thyme, rosemary and flat leaf parsley and serve.

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Slow Cooked Beef Cheeks in Pedro Ximinez

 

It’s the start of winter in Sydney. A lovely time of the year, cold and clear, with blue skies and bright sunshine!

A ex-pat friend, Amanda M, is visiting from Cleveland, Ohio.  She remarked that it was “Fall” weather for her! I guess we are lucky in Australia to have relatively mild winters.

I’m posting this 2014 recipe again, to remind myself that it’s time time to get out the Le Creuset casserole and start making some lovely slow cooked beef dishes!

This recipe hails from MoVida Bar de Tapas, restaurants in Melbourne and Sydney, from the cookbook MoVida: Spanish Culinary Adventures.

http://movida.com.au/slowly-braised-beef-cheeks-in-pedro-ximenez-with-cauliflower-puree-carillera-de-buey/

I cooked the beef cheeks in the oven rather than on the stove top as the original recipe suggests. The temperature needs to be low and the cooking time long.  This is slow cooking at its best!

Ingredients

1.5 kg beef cheeks
125 ml olive oil
3 carrots, roughly chopped
1 garlicky bulb, halved
1 brown onion, sliced
500 ml Pedro Ximenez sherry
500 ml red wine
3 bay leaves
3 tablespoons thyme leaves
1 teaspoon fine sea salt

Method

Preheat the oven to 140 degrees C or even lower if your oven is hot (like mine).

Trim the beef cheeks to neaten them up and remove any sinew and silver skin. Season well.

Heat half the olive oil in a large heavy-based baking dish over high heat. Brown the beef cheeks for 2 minutes on each side, or until golden, then remove from the pan.

Add the remaining olive oil, then add the carrot, garlic and onion and sauté over high heat for 12-15 minutes, or until well browned. Stir in the sherry, wine, bay leaves, thyme, sea salt and 500 ml water.

Reduce the heat and add the beef cheeks.  Cover and place in the oven to cook for 3-4 hours, or until the cheeks are beginning to fall apart.

The sauce from the beef cheeks should by now be reduced and glaze-like. If it needs further reducing, remove the cheeks from the baking dish, cover with foil to keep them warm and simmer the sauce over high heat on the stove top until nicely reduced. Gently reheat the cheeks in the sauce if necessary.

I served the beef cheeks with slow baked yellow, orange and purple carrots, and grilled corn tortillas to soak up the sauce – mash or pappardelle or rice would also be good.

R

 

Jamie’s Baked Garlicky Mushrooms: 5 Ingredients

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203BFF35-0EE7-4D7E-8119-C9070EE54BE9Love veggies? Love mushrooms? Here’s Jamie’s super simple mushroom bake, good as a starter, or as a substantial lunch or supper “snack”. The recipe comes from 5 Ingredients, Jamie Oliver’s great book. I’m gradually working my way through it!

It takes minimum time to prepare and to cook. I made the dish last weekend, in between some cake and brownie baking. I had the first half warm on sourdough toast and the other half the next night just as it was. Delish!

Ingredients

4 cloves of garlic

 ½ a bunch of fresh sage (15g)

350g ripe mixed-colour cherry tomatoes

4 large portobello mushrooms

40g Cheddar cheese

Method

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C. Peel and very finely slice the garlic. Pick the sage leaves. Halve the cherry tomatoes. Peel the mushrooms, reserving the peel.

Place it all (peel included) in a 25cm x 30cm roasting tray and drizzle with 1 tablespoon each of olive oil and red wine vinegar. Add a pinch of sea salt and black pepper and toss together. Pick out 12 perfect garlic slices and sage leaves for later and sit the mushrooms stalk side up on the top. Bake for IO minutes.

Remove the tray from the oven, crumble the cheese into the mushroom cups and sprinkleover the reserved garlic and sage*. Return to the oven for I5 more minutes or until the cheese is melted and everything’s golden then serve up.

*I added some rosemary sprigs too, as rosemary works well with sage.  

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Jamie Oliver Pizza

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Here’s Jamie Oliver’s simple recipe for pizza dough. I love it and it’s always my go-to recipe when I’m in the pizza making zone!

 I use my barbecue with a lid and a temperature gauge as the oven. You can really heat up the barbecue very high and you get great crusty pizza.

Jamie Oliver’s recipe is really straightforward and easy to follow, and it freezes really well. I tend to make a batch of dough, then divide into portions to freeze. I can then defrost and make pizza whenever I like!

This is the link to Jamie’e original recipe: http://www.jamieoliver.com/recipes/bread-recipes/basic-pizza

Here’s Jamie’s recipe, with a couple of tweaks I have made to the original. The quantity below gives you 4 small pizzas, enough for 2.  Doubling the quantities gives you pizzas for 4.

Pizza Dough

Ingredients

500g strong white bread flour

1/2 level tablespoon fine sea salt

1×7 g sachet dried yeast

1/2 tbs  caster sugar

325 ml lukewarm water

Semolina for dusting

Method

Pile the flour and salt on to a clean surface and make a well in the centre. Add  yeast and sugar to the lukewarm water, mix up with a fork and leave for a few minutes, then pour into the well.
Using a fork and a circular movement, slowly bring in the flour from the inner edge of the well and mix into the water. Continue to mix, bringing in all the flour. When the dough comes together and becomes too hard to mix with your fork, flour your hands and begin to pat it into a ball.
Knead the dough by rolling it backward and forward, using one hand to stretch the dough toward you and the other hand to push the dough away from you at the same time. Repeat this for 10 minutes, until you have a smooth, springy, soft dough.
Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let double in size for about 1 hour.

Divide the dough into 4 balls. Flour and cover each ball with plastic wrap, and let it rest for about 15 minutes. This will make it easier to roll it thinly.
Take a piece of the dough, dust your surface and the dough with a little flour or semolina, and roll it out into a rough circle about 0.5cm thick. Tear off an appropriately sized piece of tin foil, rub it with olive oil, dust it well with flour or semolina and place the pizza base on top.  Do the same with the other pieces and then, if you dust them with a little flour, you can pile them up into a stack and cover them with cling film.

Preheat your barbecue till very hot (at least 250 degrees C) with the lid closed.  Heat 2 baking sheets in the barbecue.
Put two of the rolled-out dough rounds onto each of two baking sheets, scattering each sheet with a dusting of semolina first.  At this stage you can apply your topping. Smear the tomato sauce over the base of your pizzas and spread it out to the edges. Scatter over your fillings, tearing  the mozzarella into rough pieces. Drizzle with a tiny bit of extra virgin olive oil and add a pinch of salt and pepper.  Put the baking sheets onto the barbecue, lid down. Cook for 7 to 10 minutes, until the pizzas are golden and crispy.

Easy Tomato Sauce Or Passata

Ingredients

olive oil

2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely sliced

1/2 bunch fresh basil, leaves picked and torn

3 x 400 tinned plum tomatoes

sea salt

freshly ground black pepper

Method

Place a large non-stick frying pan on the heat and pour in a couple of  generous lugs of olive oil. Add the garlic, shake the pan around a bit and, once the garlic begins to colour lightly, add the basil and the tomatoes. Using the back of a wooden spoon, mush and squash the tomatoes as much as you can.

Season the sauce with salt and pepper. As soon as it comes to the boil, remove the pan from the heat. Strain the sauce through a coarse sieve into a bowl, using your wooden spoon to push any larger bits of tomato through. Discard the basil and garlic that will be left in the sieve, but make sure you scrape any of the tomatoey goodness off the back of the sieve into the bowl.

Pour the sauce back into the pan, bring to the boil, then turn the heat down and simmer for 5 minutes to concentrate the flavours. It will be ready when it’s the perfect consistency for spreading on your pizza.

Store the sauce in a clean jar in the fridge – it’ll keep for a week or so. Also great to freeze in batches , so you can defrost exactly the amount you need.

Fillings for Pizza

Anything goes! You can start your pizza off with the tomato passata, or go for a white pizza (bianca). Cheese is almost always good and mozzarella makes for a beautiful gooey pizza. Add anything you think will work!

I made two tomato, mozzarella and basil pizzas, basically a pizza margherita, and for the other pizzas I added passata, artichoke heart, caramelized onion and a simple scattering of thyme leaves.

 

Red Lentil Vegetable Dahl

I am describing myself these days as a “flexitarian”, as I support the philosophy of vegetarianism and try to follow its precepts, at least for some of the time. I am finding that I am becoming more and more interested in vegetarian cooking, as well as really enjoying eating meat free. I regard my forays into vegetarian cooking as an ongoing project!

My Saturday morning trip to Orange Grove Market often results in the acquisition of some delicious Indian fare from a couple of market stalls. One of these stalls makes a great red lentil dahl – so delicious! So I thought it was about time I made my own.

I found this recipe from Vegan Sparkles and made it with a few tweaks. The link to the original recipe is here. My main variation was adding water as well as stock to the recipe, as the dahl really needed the extra liquid.

It’s super easy to make, looks colourful and enticing, is both vegetarian and vegan and best of all – tastes great!

Ingredients

1 tbsp vegetable oil

½  onion, finely chopped

1 cup sweet potato, chopped into cubes

1 tsp grated fresh ginger

2 tsp mustard seeds (black or yellow)

¾ tsp ground cayenne pepper

1½ tsp ground cumin

1½ tsp ground turmeric

1½ tsp garam masala

½ tsp ground coriander

1 clove garlic, chopped

1½ cups dried red lentils

4 cups vegetable stock

2 cups water

1 tsp honey

1 cup grated and pulped carrot

1 cup broccoli florets

1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved

1 cup baby spinach leaves

½ tsp nigella seeds

Method

Heat the oil in a large saucepan or frying pan over a medium heat. Add onion and sweet potato and fry gently until onion is soft. Add ginger, mustard seeds, cayenne pepper, cumin, turmeric, garam masala  coriander and garlic to the pan, and cook, while stirring, until mustard seeds begin to pop.

Add the lentils, stock and water and simmer for 10 minutes. Stir in the honey. Put the carrot pulp, broccoli  and cherry tomatoes into the dahl and simmer for another 15 minutes.

The dahl will be cooked and somewhat reduced. If it’s looks a little too dry, add more water, or if it’s too liquidey, reduce down a bit more.

Remove from the heat and carefully stir in the spinach leaves until they are just wilted. Scatter the nigella seeds just before serving over the dish. They will give an interesting black fleck to the dish!


					

Jamie Oliver’s Sticky Teriyaki Eggplant (Aubergine)

I’m cooking quite a few recipes  from Jamie Oliver’s 5 Ingredients at the moment. I love the simplicity of just a few basic ingredients.

There are a wealth of good recipes in the book which are pretty easy to prepare and don’t require a store cupboard full of ingredients.

Sticky Teriyaki Eggplant (read Aubergine in Jamie’s original British recipe), is unbelievably easy to make, low in calories and most importantly, very delicious!

As a dedicated foodie I love eating! Sometimes it’s necessary to undergo a little judicious calorie management, so at the moment I am embracing Weight Watchers, an organisation I can speak highly of, with its sensible food plans and non-judgmental mentors. A big shout-out to Wendy at WW in Rozelle and the city!

So it was with delight that I realised that this lovely recipe was very calorie friendly, as well as being delicious.

I made one tiny addition to the ingredients – the sticky sauce was quite strong , so I added a little brown sugar. This worked a treat and I think gave the sauce more of an Asian sweet/salty taste. For Jamie’s original, just leave out!

And if you count the ingredients it’s 7, but who is actually counting?

Ingredients

1 large eggplant (aubergine)
4 spring onions
1 fresh red chilli
20g unsalted peanuts + a few extra for scattering
1 tbls olive oil
2 tbls teriyaki sauce
1 tsp brown sugar (optional – my addition)

Method

Put a 26cm non-stick frying pan on a high heat and pour in 250mls of water.

Halve the eggplant lengthways, quickly slash the skin of each half a few times and place skin side up in the pan, then season with sea salt and black pepper.

Cover and cook for l0 minutes, or until it boils dry and begins to sizzle (listen for the change in sound).

Meanwhile, trim the spring onions. Cut the whites into 3cm lengths at an angle and put aside.

Deseed the chilli and finely slice Iengthways with the green part of the spring onions. Place both in a bowl of ice-cold water and put aside to crisp up.

When the eggplant starts to sizzle, add l tablespoon of olive oil, the white spring onions and the peanuts to the pan, stirring regularly.

After 2 minutes, add a splash of water, drizzle in the teriyaki, stir in the brown sugar and reduce to a medium heat.

Turn the eggplant, jiggle the pan and let it get sticky for a few minutes, then serve sprinkled with the drained green spring onions and chilli and a few peanuts scattered over the dish.

 

Apricot Almond Traybake

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Stone fruit is just coming into season in Sydney at the start of summer.  While peaches and nectarines are still a little firm, apricots are good eating.

The traybake is based on a recipe from Gabriel Gate from an SBS program, see here for the original. This is an ultra simple cake, made in a square tin in a shallow layer so that you end up with a traybake rather than a cake. I think it works quite well in this form.  I also made the whole cake in food processor, making it really simple.

Ingredients 

5 ripe apricots
150 g butter
100 g caster sugar
3 free-range eggs
50 g honey
120 g ground almonds
100 g self-raising flour
20 g flaked almonds

Method

Preheat oven to 170 degrees C fan-forced. Grease and line with baking paper a 24 cm square cake tin. Halve the apricots and remove stones.

Cream the butter and caster sugar in the food processor. Add the eggs and process till well mixed. Stir in the honey and then the ground almond and flour.

Carefully pour the mixture into the prepared cake tin and arrange the apricot halves on top. Sprinkle with flaked almonds in the spaces between the apricots.

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Bake the cake in the preheated oven for  30-35 minutes until a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean.

Remove the cake from the oven and allow to cool completely in the tin.  When cool, gently lift the whole traybake out of the tin using the baking paper.

Brush the top with a little warmed apricot jam to glaze and cut into squares to serve.

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