Wednesday, December 28, 2011

simple roast chicken stuffing

Normally when I'm roasting a chicken I'll just go with a simple lemon, cut in half, and stuffed in the cavity. Sometimes, if I'm so inclined, I'll also add a few sprigs of thyme. But last night we were having a salad with our roast chicken, and I had some baby roma tomatoes that were on the verge of semi-drying themselves, plus some breadrolls that were too stale to use. So I made this stuffing.

Hello yumminess.

I roughly tore the breadroll into small chunks then put it in the bowl. To this I added half a finely diced red onion, a few quatered baby tomatoes and a few slices of shredded parma ham. I topped it with some fresh thyme leaves, salt, pepper and the juice of half a lemon. I smooshed it all together with my hands then stuffed the chicken with it.

Oh my.

This made a simple salad rather spesh. I had some roasted baby potatoes leftover from the night before, so while I rested the chicken, I threw them in the cooking juices and popped them back into the oven. Guess how delicious they were...

Sunday, October 9, 2011

pickled pork recipe

Now, I'd never even heard of pickled pork until a few weeks ago when I stumbled upon it in Coles. Spying a wee package of Norfolk pickled pork I thought I'd give it a shot.

So should you.

1.5kg pickled pork
1 onion, finely sliced
2 cups white wine
2 cups chicken stock
A good splash of brandy
2 tblsp brown sugar
A few sprigs of fresh thyme

Take the pork out of its wrapping and pat dry with kitchen towelling. Season with pepper and olive oil then sear each side in a heavy-based pan.

Then toss in some sliced onions and cover it all with the wine, stock and brandy. Add the brown sugar and fresh thyme, bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer and cover.

Simmer for up to two hours then remove the meat from the stock. Let the meat rest while you boil the sauce to reduce it. Serve with roasted potatoes - or mash - and greens. Slice up this deliciously tender meat {it's reminiscent of corned beef - but so much yummier}. Pour the sauce over the top.

Should you have any leftovers, please eat them on a crusty roll the next day with a caramelised onion relish.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

simple salmon patties

I love a good pantry meal. One that you can whip up with items you just happen to have to hand. I always try to have a big tin of red salmon in the pantry, so I can make some salmon patties. Which I did tonight. Here's how:

One 445g tin of red salmon {I like the ones with the bones in for extra calcium - and you don't taste it!}
Two large potatoes for mashing {swap with orange sweet potato for a different taste}
1/2 red onion, finely diced
a good sprinkling of dried thyme
a good squirt of lime juice
1 egg {plus two more for coating}
flour {for dusting}
panko bread crumbs {for crumbing}

In a bowl combine salmon, cold mashed potatoes, onion, thyme, lime and one egg. Mix together really well. Now, normally I'd form these into patties and refrigerate for 30 mins, but tonight I got distracted and just left the mix sitting in the bowl - and they formed beautifully! Form palm sized balls, flatten out and dip in flour, then beaten egg, then panko.

Place on a greased oven tray and sprinkle with a little olive oil.

Pop into a hot oven {around 190 degrees fan-forced} for 20 minutes - turning patties halfway through. Serve with lime mayonaise or a dipping mix of 2/3 sweet chilli sauce to 1/3 lime juice.

My daughter just LOVES these, as do both hubby and I. If there happen to be any left over they're damned delicious in a crusty breadroll with cos lettuce and some lime mayo {cheat and mix lime juice into good quality bought mayo - I do!}

Saturday, June 18, 2011

seven hour leg of lamb recipe

Now, this is one of my fail-safe recipes. The lamb's always moist, tender and falls off the bone. But friends have made it and found it a little dry - so it's important to keep the heat way down, and make sure you have a casserole with a well-fitting lid {I use my Le Crueset french oven - well worth the exorbitant cost when purchased at 40% off at David Jones and used weekly for winters over my lifetime - and I'll probably pass it onto my gal too!} If you don't have a good casserole, try wetting some baking paper and covering the lamb with that, before covering with a few layers of aluminium foil. This should keep the moisture in.

1 leg of lamb with bone in, preferably with the shank too {cook's treat - mmmmm}
4 cloves of garlic, cut lengthways into slivers
4 anchovies, cut into 2cm pieces
1 onion, finely chopped finely
2 carrots, peeled and cut in half lengthways - use as a trivet to hold the lamb up
1 1/2 cups of french lentils
1 cup red wine or rosé
2 sprigs rosemary
salt, pepper, olive oil

Bring the lamb to room temperature. Using a thin, sharp knife, make pockets in the lamb - stabbing down about an inch or so {2.5cm} Stick your finger in to widen it, then place a sliver of garlic and a piece of anchovy into each *

Rub the lamb with olive oil, salt and pepper and then, in a frypan on a moderately high heat, sear all sides until golden brown.

Place onions, lentils and rosemary in casserole dish and stir. Place carrots down to form a base for the lamb. Place the lamb on the carrots. Use the white wine to deglaze all the yummy stuff from the frypan - getting all the good bits up with a wooden spoon. Pour over the lamb and lentils. You should just be able to cover the lentils with the wine, if it looks dry add a little more wine.

Cover tightly with a lid and place in oven on the lowest heat possible. Bake for seven hours. Yep, seven hours. Remove the lamb after cooking and serve with the lentils.

*Okay, so you reckon you hate anchovies and will leave them out? DON'T! They're essential. They melt down and just leave the most incredible salty flavour. Buy the nice ones in oil - you may well become addicted {they're also fabulous melted down in a frypan with olive oil and garlic so you can toss through broccoli - mmmmm}

Sunday, June 12, 2011

standing rib roast recipe

I love a standing rib roast. Like anything, beef's best cooked on the bone and this recipe is positively drool-worthy. Here's how I do it.

1 rib roast
1 onion
a couple of sprigs of thyme
a head of garlic
olive oil
red wine


Preheat oven to 170 degrees celcius.

Take rib roast from fridge at least 30 mins before cooking to allow to come to room temperature. Pat the beef dry with a paper towel. Season with salt and pepper and rub with olive oil {I used a garlic oil last time - mmmmmmm}.

Slice onion finely and lay in a baking dish to form a trivet for the beef. Add thyme sprigs, and then cut the head of garlic in half widthwise and break into pieces. Dot throughout the onion.

In a frypan, on a really high heat, sear the beef on all sides till it's a rich, deep brown. Remove from pan and place on onion trivet bone-side down - making sure that no onion escapes the sides {otherwise it'll burn}. Now, use a cup of red wine to deglaze the frypan you seared the meat in. Use a wooden spoon to stir through all the yummy bits on the bottom of the pan. Pour this over the meat. You should have a good inch of red wine in the bottom of the baking tray, if not, add some more.

Pop this in the oven for 45 minutes, and then, using a meat thermometer test the meat in the thickest part. 45 minutes to an hour is enough for a rib-roast of around 1.2kg if you like it rare {of course you do!}. When the meat's done to your liking, remove from the oven and cover loosely with a clean tea towel in a warm spot and leave it to rest for at least half the amount of time it spent cooking. This lets all the juices flow through the meat and lets the meat settle into tender deliciousness. If you're impatient you'll be left with a bloody mess on your plate - and that's never pretty.

Now, place the baking tray on your stove and turn the element up high. Add more red wine if you need it, and stirring, cook yourself up a lovely caramelised onion and red wine jus. 15 minutes should do it.

Remove the garlic and thyme, and pour into a gravy boat. Slice the beef into big cutlets, serve with dauphinois potatoes and greens. Sit back and bask in the compliments.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

chorizo and rice pilaf recipe

Okay, so tonight I just couldn't be bothered hitting the shops - so I searched the pantry and fridge and came up with this. It was light, tasty and pretty darned healthy - so I thought I'd best share the recipe with you.

Serves 3
1/2 spanish onion, finely diced
1/2 green capsicum, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, sliced
6 really ripe cherry truss tomatoes
olive oil
a splash of red wine
1 chorizo, diced
1 tin cannelini beans, drained and rinsed
salt, pepper, dried thyme to taste
1/2 lemon
Fresh parsley
1 cup of cooked rice {I used one of those microwave sachets - easy peasy!}
1/4 cup slivered almonds

Slowly saute the onions and capsicum until really tender. Add garlic and saute for a minute or so. Add the chorizo and leave to cook till crisp. I recommend turning up the heat and leaving to answer the phone. When you come back everything's really caramelised so you have to stir it really quickly and add some red wine and use a wooden spoon to add all that caramelised sticky yumminess to the sauce.

Throw in the beans and give it a stir. Cut the tomatoes into quarters and toss them in - giving them a squoosh with the back of the spoon. Add the rice and season to taste with salt, pepper and dried thyme. Just before serving add a good squeeze of lemon and toss parsley over the top. Throw in the slivered almonds and serve.

Both hubby and my gal loved it and boy, I reckon it would have been cheap. You could also add chilli and smoked paprika at the garlic stage if you are so inclined. I'll be making this again, and adding some chunks of poached chicken breasts perhaps.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

yummy chicken pot pies recipe

I gave my gal the option of chicken sausages or chicken pot pies for dinner and she barely drew breath before saying, "Chicken pot pie!" This is my fail-safe meal: kids LOVE it, and so do adults. And it's pretty simple too:

Serves 4
2 freerange chicken breasts
2 waxy potatoes, diced
1 carrot, diced
1 litre of salt-reduced chicken stock
3 sprigs of thyme
2 cloves of garlic
1 tablespoon plain flour
salt and pepper to taste
1 slice of puff pastry

Place the chicken stock in a deep fry pan with the thyme and garlic {leave it whole}. Pop in the chicken breasts and bring to a simmer. Simmer for 5 minutes until it's turning opaque, then turn over. Put a lid on top if you think it needs extra help.

Saute the potatoes and carrots in some butter for around 5 minutes, over a low heat to avoid colouring. Tip in the flour and mix well to coat all the vegies. Cook for two minutes to take away the floury taste. Remove the cooked chicken breasts from the stock and cut into 1 inch cubes. Add to vegies, then pour stock over the top. Stir, then bring to the boil and simmer until it thickens, usually around 5 minutes. Season to taste.

Put the filling inside individual ramekins, or a large pie dish. Cut out a circle of puff pastry to fit over the top of the ramekin/pie plate. Brush it with a little olive oil cut a few slits in the top to allow steam to escape then sprinkle with salt flakes.

Bake in a moderate oven for 30 minutes, or until browned.

Serve with mashed potatoes and peas. Seriously, it's good.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

lamb shanks with french lentils recipe

Here's my slow roasted lamb shanks with lentils recipe. So. Damned. Good.
Serves 6
6 lamb shanks
Plain flour
Salt and pepper
Olive oil
1 litre beef stock
1 cup french lentils du puy
one whole anchovy
2 cloves garlic, crushed
3 bay leaves

Coat frenched lamb shanks in a liberal dose of seasoned flour {plenty of salt and pepper}. Then, in a heavy bottom pan, brown them in a little olive oil. Really brown them. Take them out. Next, add one litre of beef stock, 1 cup of red wine, one whole anchovy {trust: it'll melt}, two cloves of crushed garlic and three bay leaves to the pot, stirring well to remove any yummy bits stuck to the bottom of the pan.

Add one cup of french lentils du puy. Add loads of freshly ground pepper. Stir and then bring to the boil. Add the lamb shanks. Cover tightly {I cooked this in my le crueset french oven} and pop in a low oven {140 celcius} for at least 3 hours. Serve with creamy french mash and green beans. So good. My husband said it's as good as duck confit and in my house there is no higher praise.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

best-ever roast chicken recipe

I do love a good roast chook, and here's my quick and simple recipe for a tasty roast.

1 Free-range chicken {it has to be free-range!}
1 lemon
A few sprigs of fresh thyme
Two pieces of streaky bacon
Salt and pepper
1/2 cup of white wine
Olive oil.

Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees celcius.

Bring chicken to room temperature by leaving out of fridge for 15 to 30 minutes {taking care in summer!}.

Rinse the chicken inside and out under running water, and shake off any excess. Pat the chicken dry with kitchen towel or a clean tea towel. Sprinkle with olive oil and massage it in well. Next, season with salt and pepper all over the skin, and inside the cavity. Cut the lemon in half and place it inside the chicken cavity, along with the sprigs of thyme. Place chicken on a rack inside a baking tray. If you don't have a roasting rack, make a 'trivet' out of sticks of carrot and thickly sliced onions - you need to keep the chicken off the base of the tray. Pour white wine into the tray. Place the bacon over the breast of the chicken.

Place in the oven and roast for around 15 - 25 minutes per 500g. You can baste the meat with pan juices every 15 minutes if you like. With 15 minutes of cooking to go, remove bacon from breasts, it should be nice and crispy and you can either eat it yourself {as a cook's treat} or chop it up and place it over the vegies.

Chicken is done when the skin is golden brown and you can stick a skewer into the thickest part of the thigh and the juice flows clear {not pink}. Otherwise, get yourself a meat thermometer for failproof cooking.

Remove chicken from the oven and allow to rest for 15 minutes. Cover it loosely with a tea towel while it's resting. Make a gravy from the pan drippings by adding a little chicken stock to the white wine and pan juices. Place pan on a hotplate and stir while bringing to a boil. Simmer for up to five minutes while the sauce thickens.

Serve with plenty of roasted vegies and a stack of greens. {And don't forget to use the leftover chicken carcass to make stock: cover with water, add an onion, a carrot and some thyme and simmer for an hour}

Thursday, May 19, 2011

chicken and chorizo risotto recipe

This here's one of our favourite family recipes. It's simple {well, for a risotto} and super-tasty. I've also used some flash-fried prawns instead of the chicken.
Serves 4.
2 chorizo sausages {or try pancetta or bacon}
2 freerange skinless chicken breasts
1 litre of chicken stock
A few sprigs of thyme
Arborio rice, around a cup and a half
1 cup dry white wine
2 big cloves of garlic
finely diced onion or french shallot
Parmesan and butter to taste

Slice chorizo and brown in a frypan. Remove and set aside.

Place your stock and thyme sprigs in the frypan, using your wooden spoon to get all the yummy chorizo brownings from the base, then place chicken breast inside. Bring to a slow boil then turn it down to simmer. Depending on the size of the chicken breasts it can help to have a lid to pop over the pan to help the chicken poach evenly.

Melt a little butter and some olive oil in a heavy bottomed saucepan and then add the garlic and shallots. Add a little salt - this'll stop them from burning. Cook over a very low heat till soft. Next, add your rice, stirring for 2 minutes till it's coated with butter and starts to change colour. Ideally it should be letting off a teeny bit of milky liquid.

Pour in your cup of white wine and stir. Now, pour yourself a glass of white wine and get comfy - here's where the arm workout comes in. Good risotto takes constant stirring in my opinion - that's why a glass of wine {oh, and the odd wedge of parmesan} makes it all go much more smoothly.

When the wine is almost absorbed add a soup-ladle full of the simmering stock. Keep checking your chicken breast - they can take up to 15 minutes to poach depending on their thickness. When they're done, remove and set aside.

Keep stirring, and adding stock one ladleful at a time. After about 20 minutes test your rice. It should be nearly opaque with just a wee spot of white in the middle. Your risotto still needs to have a soupy consistency, so keep your stock up.

Cut the chicken into bite-sized chunks and stir it through the risotto. Turn off the heat and add a nob of butter, some freshly ground pepper and parmesan. Add the chorizo at the last minute and serve with wedges of lemon on the side {alternatively make a lemon, parsley and garlic gremolata to serve over top - mmmmmm}.

And enjoy!