Our latest feast

Monday, April 30, 2018

Pomegranate and Spinach Salad

By the end of summer I am personally sick of salad.  Although I try and make salads as interesting as possible.  Some of my favourite salads would have to be Roast Pumpkin, Beetroot and Bocconcini Salad with Guiness Dressing or Roast Pumpkin Salad and of course, the Crunchy Asian Salad.  However, there comes a point where I just cannot eat salad anymore.

Saying this, you are not going to believe the salad on the plate tonight.  This would have to be the most jam packed flavoursome salad that only has 3 ingredients...... yep go figure.  Bold spinach combined with the sweetness of thinly sliced red onion.  Scattered with fresh pomegranate tendrils.

The hardest thing about making this salad is removing the tendrils from the pomegranate. The easiest way I have found is to cut the top off and make slits down the sides of the pomegranate.  Then open it like a flower, turn upside down and tap with a wooden spoon.  Here is an instructional video.  Once you have done it a few times you will have mastered the art of doing this without too much mess.

It's actually one of our daughter's favourites and takes this for lunch at school quite often.  I like it drizzled with balsamic vinegar to add another element.  In all seriousness you will love this. 

Pomegranate and Spinach Salad

Serves: 4

500 grams baby spinach leaves, rinsed and patted dry
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
tendrils of 1 pomegranate

On a large platter or bowl layer the spinach and red onion.  Toss together if you wish.

Sprinkle with pomegranate tendrils.

Serve immediately.

(Click here for a printable version of this recipe).

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Slightly Chewy Anzac Biscuit

Our daughter asked if I was making Anzac Biscuits again this year.  It always amazes me that something that I may only do or cook once a year is requested with the perfect timing from not only her but from the family.   They know that I have my traditions (as quirky as some of them are) and my beliefs which they let me run with even if it means eating different foods like Faggods and Mushy Peas and Welsh Cakes on St David's Day or only eating seafood on Good Friday and I thank them humbly for letting me do my thing!  Anzac Day is the only day that I bake Anzac Biscuits. 

An Anzac biscuit is a sweet biscuit, popular in Australia and New Zealand, made using rolled oats, flour, sugar, butter, golden syrup, baking soda, boiling water, and (optionally) desiccated coconut. Anzac biscuits have long been associated with the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) established in World War I. The biscuits were sent by wives and women's groups to soldiers abroad because the ingredients do not spoil easily and the biscuits kept well during naval transportation.

Everyone loves an Anzac biscuit - everyone has a treasured recipe also.  This recipe is very close to the traditional version we all know and love, but with slightly higher amounts of coconut, golden syrup and butter, the end result is more chewy than crumbly.  Personally I prefer a crumbly crisp Anzac Biscuit but these pleased the crew.

Slightly Chewy Anzac Biscuit
(Recipe sourced from Delicious)

Makes: 24

1¼ cups rolled oats
1 ¼ cups desiccated coconut
1 cup plain flour
150 grams unsalted butter
¼ cup golden syrup
1 cup raw sugar
½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius.

Combine the oats, coconut, flour and a pinch of salt in a bowl. Set aside.

Place the butter, golden syrup and sugar in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring until butter melts. Bring to a simmer and cook for a further 1-2 minutes until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat, cool slightly, then add the bicarb soda and 1 tbs water. Stir to combine, then pour over the oat mixture.

Using a wooden spoon, combine butter and oat mixture.

Using 1 tbs mixture each, roll into 24 equal-sized balls. Divide between two baking paper-lined baking trays, leaving 3cm between each.

Flatten biscuits slightly, then bake for 10-12 minutes until the top tray is slightly golden. Swap trays and cook for a further 6-8 minutes until all biscuits are golden.

Remove from oven and cool completely on a wire rack.

(Click here for a printable version of this recipe)

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Creamy Garlic, Chilli and Coriander Prawns

What's that one meal that you always order when you go to a bistro (or the pub as we like to call it here in Australia)?  While many people always swear by good ol' Chicken Parmigiana (well this meal covers most of my family), a burger if they are on the menu or even a nice piece of juicy steak.  For me however it's creamy garlic prawns served with rice and sometimes if I am feeling naughty I also get some chips - I always asked for extra garlic sauce however.

There is something about the way that the bistro's cook garlic prawns - it's totally different than that of the Asian cuisines.  And while the thought of prawns, garlic and rice does sound like something you would get in a Chinese restaurant this style of dish is totally the opposite. The thought of the thick creamy garlic laced sauce, normally laced with chopped parsley, is making my mouth salivate right now.

Creamy garlic has to be one of my favourite sauces to have with prawns or chicken. While it's normally quite bold in flavour it is subtle enough to compliment seafood and poultry.  I do believe given the chance I could just about eat it on anything.

Tonight we jazzed it up a little, maybe incorporating a few more Asian ingredients, but wanted it still to be thick and creamy.  The prawns were marinated in garlic, chilli, spring onion, salt, pepper and a little oil prior to cooking.

Creamy Garlic, Chilli and Coriander Prawns

Serves: 2

500 grams raw king prawns, cleaned and rinsed
2 - 4 cloves garlic, crush, depending on taste
1 tablespoons chilli flakes, more or less depending on taste
1 spring onion, finely chopped
freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
250 grams light thickened cream
1 tablespoon corn flour
1/2 bunch finely chopped coriander

Pat dry prawns and place in a bowl.  Add garlic, chilli, spring onion, salt and pepper to taste, and olive oil.   Mix well.  Allow to stand for 30 minutes or longer if possible.

Heat a wok or large frying pan over high heat.  Add prawns and stir fry for 1 minutes or until prawns start to turn pink in colour.

In a small jug mix cream and cornflour together.  Add to prawns and cook, stirring continuously, for 2 to 3 minutes or until sauce starts to thicken.  Mix through coriander.

Serve immediately, with steamed rice if desired.

Monday, April 9, 2018

Chicken Lazone

I was looking for another chicken dish - the last new chicken recipe I cooked was definitely going to be a hard act to follow.  After cooking "Marry Me Chicken" and getting the rave reviews and requests for repeat servings from the family I have to say I was a little worried attempting another new chicken recipe.  But OMG!!! Damn Delicious you are so right - I have found another magnificent chicken recipe.  And this meal was devoured also.   Let's face it any dish with a creamy sauce is already on the track of being a winner.

Quite a different way of making this creamy sauced dish I have to admit however it was definitely not hard and was made without limited effort no to mention another quick to prepare meal for a mid week feast.

Instead of putting the herbs in with the cream sauce they are all mixed together with some olive oil to create an intense rub for the chicken.  Combining this is all done in a snap lock bag so there is also not much mess especially on your hands.  Then you simply pan fry the chicken add the cream sauce ingredients pop in the oven while you cook the other vegetables and voila your meal is done and ready for the hungry hoards.

Talk about flavoursome - the mix of smoky paprika, garlic, cayenne pepper, basil and oregano is one of my new favourites especially when smothered in a creamy sauce.  Due to the combination of the herbs the cream sauce had a tingle of smokiness and heat with each mouthful but it definately complimented the spiciness of the chicken breasts.

I really liked this dish - in fact I am finding it hard to make judgement on which is my favourite.  The two dishes Chicken Lazone and Marry Me Chicken are both delicious!  One is spicy and creamy the other is creamy and somewhat a rustic Italian style dish.  What can I say?  I am torn I really am?  I would love to hear what you think?

Chicken Lazone
(Recipe adapted from Damn Delicious)

Serves: 6

4 teaspoons smoked paprika
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried basil
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
6 skinless chicken breasts, approx 150 grams each, fat trimmed
2 tablespoon olive oil
coking spray
4 tablespoons reduced fat butter, divided
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups skim milk
2 cups reduced fat thickened cream
2 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon cornflour
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves

Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius.

Combine paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne pepper, oregano and basil in a small bowl; season with salt and pepper, to taste.

In a large ziploc bag, add chicken, olive oil and paprika mixture, shaking to coat thoroughly.

Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a large frying pan over medium high heat. Add chicken and cook, flipping once, until cooked through, about 4-5 minutes on each side.

Once cooked remove chicken fillets from the frying pan and place in a large casserole dish in a single layer.  Repeat with remaining chicken fillets.

Melt remaining 2 tablespoons butter in the skillet. Add garlic, and cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Gradually stir through the milk and cream until slightly thickened, about 4-5 minutes and season with salt and pepper, to taste.

In a small bowl or jug mix together the water and cornflour.  Quickly stir into cream mixture.

Pour cream mixture over the chicken fillets and place in oven for 15 - 20 minutes or until chicken is cooked through and the cream mixture is bubbling.

Remove from oven and serve immediately with chicken, garnished parsley, if desired.

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Tuscan Roast Pork

I mentioned that I received a beautiful cookbook from my gorgeous friend Bernie for my birthday when we cooked Rioja Chicken a little while ago and to be honest the book hasn't made it to the bookshelf yet - in fact it hasn't left the kitchen.  The cookbook is ABC's Delicious - Love To Eat and if you get a chance to get a copy I would encourage you to do so.  It is one of the better cookbooks I have read and used in such a long time.

This is the second time that we have cooked the Tuscan Pork.  The recipe as written has two components - one being the pork and the other being Mustard Fruits.  I am going to confess to having only cooked the pork as I do not believe that any of the family would try let alone enjoy the Mustard Fruits so I haven't even bothered with making them.  If anyone would like the recipe though please contact me and I can email it to you.

The fascinating thing about this recipe which actually goes against everything that I have learnt about cooking pork is that the whole piece of pork belly is marinated including the much treasured skin or the crackle.  Every other recipe will state you must keep the skin dry, do not get the skin wet, pat down with paper towel to ensure it's dry, it won't crisp up if the skin is wet, etc.  Well not this recipe... and it does crisp up producing a fantastic rosemary and fennel infused crackle.

Marinading the pork belly doesn't come any easier than this either.  A combination of fresh rosemary and fennel seeds mixed with olive oil and lemon seasoned with salt - it is simply that easy.  As decadent as this sounds it is one of the easiest marinades but it's by far one of the tastiest.  You can definitely not match the flavour of fresh rosemary or the slight aniseed flavour of the fennel.   Yet together they taste amazing.

We adore the flavours of this pork belly recipe.  Is it our favourite?  Yes definitely.

Tuscan Roast Pork
(Recipe adapted from Delicious - Love To Eat)

Serves: 6 - 8

2 tablespoons finely chopped rosemary
2 tablespoons fennel seeds
finely grated zest of 1 lemon
1 teaspoon sea salt flakes
2 tablespoons olive oil

Ensure pork rind is scored to your liking.

Combine rosemary, fennel, lemon zest, salt and oil in a bowl then rub all over the pork. 

Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Prior to cooking remove pork belly from fridge and sit at room temperature for approx 30 minutes to take the chill of the pork.

Preheat the oven to 220 degrees Celsius.

Place the pork, skin side up, on a roasting rack over a roasting pan.  Fill pan with 2cm water.  Roast pork for 30 minutes.

Reduce heat to 180 degrees Celsius and cook for a further 2 hours, topping up water if necessary.  Remove from the oven and site aside to rest, loosely covered with foil.

Slice pork and serve.

(Click here for a printable version of this recipe)

Sunday, April 1, 2018

Raspberry and Chocolate Croissant Pudding

When I decided to have the family over for Easter lunch I had already planned on using a frozen apple pie as dessert.  Upon removing from the freezer I realised that it had been crushed and was not looking to great to serve up to the family.  This now posed the question - what are we going to do for dessert?  What ever it was going to be I knew that it had to be quick and easy to prepare as time was ticking and our guests would be arriving soon.

Opening our freezer lid (we have an awesome Haier 519L chest freezer - a little overkill but it well used in our household) I immediately saw some croissants and thought I know I can do something with these!  Then I remembered a croissant pudding that I made many moons ago which went down a treat.

While this pudding is very similar to a bread and butter pudding - using same technique but I have to admit replacing the bread with croissants added a texture and sweeter taste to the dish than that of bread.  The custard was light and velvety which soaked beautifully into the delicate french pastries.  This all coupled with a scattering of raspberries and melted chocolate pieces was, to be honest, heavenly.

Not to mention, even with frozen croissants, it was prepared in 15 minutes and ready to put in the oven when required.  The original recipe called for white chocolate but a substitution was made due to not having that ingredient in the house.  I also added vanilla bean paste to the custard mixture to give it a little more decadence.

Served warm with ice cream and thick dollop cream (yes I know drool) this pudding got the tick of approval from all of the family... my father-in-law ate two serves even after admitting that he doesn't like bread and butter pudding.  Thumbs up I say.

Raspberry and Chocolate Croissant Pudding
(Recipe adapted from Taste.com)

Serves: 6 - 8

6 croissants
20 grams butter
1/4 cup raspberry jam
100 grams milk chocolate baking chips
100 grams frozen raspberries
8 eggs, lightly whisked
1 1/2 cups milk
3/4 cup thickened cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
1/2 cup caster sugar

Preheat oven to 160 degrees Celsius. 

Lightly grease an 8 cup capacity ovenproof dish.

Use a small serrated knife to split each croissant in half. Lightly spread the cut side of each croissant with a little butter. Spread the jam over the butter. Arrange the croissants, chocolate and raspberries in the prepared dish.

Whisk the egg, milk, cream, vanilla and sugar in a large jug until well combined. Pour the egg mixture evenly over the croissants. Set aside for 15 mins to soak.

Place the dish into a larger roasting pan and pour enough boiling water into the pan to come halfway up the sides of the dish. Bake for 35-40 mins or until custard is just set. 

Set aside for 10 mins to cool slightly before serving.