I hope you enjoy the food!!!

Friday, April 30, 2010

Baked Moroccan Chicken and Rice

This recipe checks all the boxes!!

If you are looking for a meal that is quick and easy to make, is tasty, and is a one pot meal - this is the one to try!!

While searching through the "Taste" website recently I found this recipe and decided to add it to the pile of "contenders" for the weekly menu plan. So dear readers, come dine with us ......(albeit a little late as we had this last night!)

Baked Moroccan Chicken and Rice

Serves 6

1/2 cup apricot jam
3 tbs Moroccan Seasoning
2 cloves crushed garlic
1 tbs olive oil
1kg chicken thighs, excess fat removed and cut into large chunks
2 cups long grain rice, rinsed
1 brown onion halved, sliced thinly
2 tomatoes, roughly chopped
1 cup frozen peas
2 1/4 cups chicken stock
1 lemon, juiced

Now for the best part...

Preheat the oven to 220 degrees C.

Combine jam, seasoning, garlic and oil in a bowl. Add chicken and stir to coat.

Place the rice in a 5cm deep, 22cm x 26cm baking dish. Top with onion, tomato and peas. Pour over the stock and lemon juice. Top with the chicken.

Bake, uncovered for approximately 35 minutes, or until the rice is cooked through.

I then turned off the oven - covered the dish with foil and let it sit in the oven for another 10-15 minutes. This let the rice absorb any liquid that was left.

Serve with some steamed green - such as broccoli or beans.

Hope you enjoy it as much as we did.

What's for dinner tonight??? Tune in tomorrow to find out - you won't be disappointed.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Vietnamese BBQ Chicken Rolls

Thursday Again!

Thursday is my second least favourite day of the week. It is the day I laboriously pore over cooking magazines and try and come up with a week's worth of menus for the family.

I have to bear in mind who will actually be home and eating that night, what can be left simmering or baking away so that it will be cooked when we come in from sport, or what can be prepared ahead and thrown together in a mad dash when we get in - never a fun or easy task. The least favourite day of the week?? Friday - the day I go and "hunt and gather" for the family and then bring it all home to store it away.

The task is still ahead - I am procrastinating, and diverting my attention at the moment - if I don't think about it perhaps I won't have to do it!!!!

SO.... while I procrastinate I am poaching a couple of chicken breasts in a ginger, garlic, shoaxing cooking wine, honey and water concoction. I plan to make sushi for "the darlings" lunch tomorrow. It was my birthday yesterday and they bought me a sushi ezi sushi maker ..... is this a hint???? So being the good little domestic goddess that I am I am making them some chicken and avocado sushi.

Procrastinating more and diverting again I must share with you about my lunch. After a hard workout morning I was quite famished so I headed off to the local Vietnamese restaurant for a BBQ chicken roll. Have you ever had anything so good - so healthy and so cheap for lunch $4!!!! You can't beat that. For those of you that haven't discovered these delicacies yet I will share with you a recipe so you can make them yourself. These really need to be made ahead of time - so if you have the chance start this the night before.

Vietnamese BBQ Chicken Rolls

Lebanese cucumber sliced in long thin slices (shave the slices with a vegetable peeler)
carrot, shaved lengthways, and then cut into ribbons (if you have a mandolin - use it!!!)
avocado, thinly sliced
tomato thinly sliced
iceberg lettuce, shredded
Onion, and sliced chilli (both optional)

Heat 1 cup of rice vinegar with 1/2 cup of caster sugar in a small pan over medium heat. Stir until the sugar is dissolved, then cool. Add the shredded carrot - leave for at least 2 hours - preferably overnight. This is the really important part - the sweet "pickly" flavour of the carrots is the star of this sandwich! Make sure to drain well before adding to the rolls - don't want soggy rolls!

2 tbs light soy sauce
1 tbs peanut oil
1 tbs honey

To this mixture add 500g chicken thighs which have been trimmed of excess fat. Leave overnight if possible.

Next day cook the chicken on the BBQ for about 5 minutes each side or until they are caramel brown and cooked through. Once cooked, slice thickly.

Now to assemble the rolls - you need beautiful crispy baguette rolls - put in avocado, lettuce, cucumber, tomato and carrot - chilli and onion if you wish. Sprinkle liberally with soy sauce. Top with the chicken. To finish it off add sprigs of coriander (stalks and all).

Heaven in a roll!! Try and eat it and not make a mess!! Me, I am spoilt - why make it when I can buy it for $4!!

Must go - the menu planning is still waiting - damn it didn't go away even though I did!!!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

"Leftovers" Pizza

How to turn a loser into a winner!

Well as you have read - the Slow Cooked Sicilian Lamb was not a winner - not in it's first life anyway!!!

Last night it was resurrected - and became a star in it's own right! It made the best pizza!!

I am not one for "second day lamb" - I think it develops a flavour of it's own (and not in a good way) - just a personal taste mind you - so it was with trepidation that I attempted the "lamb pizza". Being the creative little soul that I am, I thought a bit before embarking on this.

So what did I do.... I cut the slices of lamb into shreds, then gently pan fried them up with a very generous splash of red wine and garlic until the red wine had virtually all gone - this softened it up beautifully, and also helped to disguise the "second day lamb taste". I then caramelised 2 onions with a balsamic and maple sauce. The "leftover smashed potatoes" were placed in the oven to crisp up, and all was ready to go.

So the pizza was - tomato sauce, lamb, sundried tomatoes, caramelised onions, then the crispy potatoes, topped off with parmesan cheese and a small amount of mozzarella. YUM! Who said you can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear!! They obviously haven't tasted one of my "leftovers pizzas"!! For those in the know - I won "letter of the month" in the current edition of "Good Taste" with my "leftovers pizza" letter. (That wasn't what the letter was about - but with creative editing that is what they made it - who cares I WON THE BAKEWARE!!)

Monday, April 26, 2010


Well the Pulled Pork Burritos were a success! Shredded perfectly. The piece of meat I used (which was under $20) made soooo much - it was a very economical meal. We had enough for burritos for 6, and probably enough for two more meals. Mmmm now what can I make with the leftovers?? Mexican Pizza, Pulled Pork BBQ Rolls served with chips and coleslaw - the options are endless.

The only comment about the pork last night was that it was kind of bland, but you know bland is good sometimes. Me,I love HOT burritos - so this left me the option to add as much hot sauce as I wanted, and the "darlings" well they just added tomato sauce to theirs - so I say everyone is a winner this way!

So what's for dinner tonight Mum???

Now that lamb from Saturday could become a star on a pizza I think. I also have some Haloumi lurking in the cheese drawer. Today being a Public Holiday is really a Sunday - and Sunday is Pizza Night in this house - time to pull out all the leftovers and combine them into a stunning pizza. Of course the "darlings" only eat ham pizza - but that just leaves more for the rest of us.

Back to the grind tomorrow - sport, late nights, late dinners...... you know how that is. Not sure what we are really having each day, but rissoles, and Morroccan Chicken have been put on the menu. Will let you know how they turn out.

Oh by the way, the Panna Cottas were a hit too!! Actually much better than I thought they would be, if you want the recipe send me a post and I will add to the next blog!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

King Prawns With Honey Garlic Sauce and Pulled Pork Burritos

What's on the Menu this weekend?

When I started this I thought I would only share with you the successful meals that I made - but is that what it is all about? No everything you make is not going to be great - well perhaps it is - but not in your eyes.

Last night's meal was an example. I am sure to some it would have been perfectly OK - but to me it wasn't what I was hoping it was going to be. It was called "Slow-Roasted Sicilian Style Lamb". The picture made me salivate - seemed simple to prepare - but it turned out to be a "Manu meal" "it was not to my liking". Perhaps the words "slow cooked lamb" gave the impression that the meat would fall apart. Perhaps it was that I used a leg instead of a shoulder of lamb (my butcher friend told me that it would be perfectly ok).

The flavours were there - but the lamb was chewy. Next time I will do it differently. It was a one pot meal - consisting of the boned lamb, a quartered red onion, sage, parsley, garlic, cannellini beans, and white wine. This was all coated in fresh breadcrumbs and parmesan cheese.

Into the oven for 2 hours! After 45 minutes you were to add quartered tomatoes. I basted every 30 minutes - but still it was dry and chewy. Perhaps next time leave off the crust and bake for longer (perhaps 3-4 hours) then add the crust during the last 30 minutes? Anyway needless to say we have lots of leftovers, either the dog will fare well or I will have to come up with a way of turning it all into a pizza topping!

So let's get to successes - Friday night's meal was a winner!

King Prawns with Honey and Garlic Sauce

1 kg green prawns - I used beautiful Tiger Prawns
4 tsp light soy sauce
2 egg yolks, lightly beaten
2 tsp sesame oil

Combine the soy, eggs and oil to make your batter. Add the prawns and make sure they are well coated.

To make the sauce combine
4 tsp honey
4 tbs shaoxing wine
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tsp light soy

Heat some oil on medium high heat (I used rice bran oil) in a wok. Deep fry the prawns 4 at a time for about 1 minute, or until opaque. Drain on a paper towel while cooking the rest.

Drain out the oil and wipe the wok out with a paper towel.

Add the sauce ingredients to the wok and simmer for a couple of minutes, until thickened slightly.

Add the prawns and stir fry for about 30 seconds, or until heated through.

Serve with steamed Jasmine Rice and garnished with toasted sesame seeds.


Now to tonight's meal - Pulled Pork Burritos and a Light Vanilla Panna Cotta with Mandarin Salad for dessert

Really simple meal - into the crock pot I put

1 onion, cut into wedges,
400 can diced tomatoes
1/2 cup tomato sauce
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 tbs brown sugar
1 tsp oregano leaves
pinch of dried chilli flakes

Then I put a whole pork roast in (with the skin and excess fat removed) - made sure the meat was covered in sauce - put the lid on and walked away.

The hardest part of this meal will be shredding it with 2 forks when it is cooked.

When the meat is shredded I will add some red kidney beans and serve the meat wrapped in a tortilla with sour cream and avocado (I am sure the "darlings" will add cheese too - but really I don't think it is needed. Who said burritos had to be made with mince? In fact authentic burritos are not made with mince at all. While I was living in California my favourite Mexican Taco stand "Super Tacqueria" made THE BEST Chilli Verde Burritos - I still crave those 20 years on! I have my own version that I make, but decided to go for the red pulled pork today. Will let you know later how it turns out. Smells great at the moment!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Why you ask?

More than 20 years ago while I was living in the States I used to watch cooking shows like Julia Child, The Frugal Gourmet and one called Yan Can Cook. I used to dream about being discovered and having a cooking show of my own.

I am passionate about food and love to cook. After watching Julie, Julia I thought "what can I do with my cooking - how can I do more?" I recently sent a letter to a food magazine and jokingly asked if there were any jobs going, and they suggested I do a blog site and gave me some sites to follow. I thought, perhaps this a way for me to share my experiences in the kitchen with my friends - give them the tried and successful recipes that I use - and perhaps even "star in my own cooking show!"

So here goes, I want to share with you recipes that I serve to my family, I hope you will try them and enjoy them too!

ps - Can you get discovered demonstrating seafood recipes in a Westfield Shopping Centre???