Our latest feast

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

We have moved....

Hello everyone,

A Dash of Flavour has moved to it's own personal location.  We would very much like you to come visit us there.

This blog will remain active (I'm still learning the capabilities of the new site) so you can still access all the recipes.

Thanks for your support.

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Creamy Italian Chicken

Wanting something different but quick and easy considering winter has officially arrived here in Melbourne (although it's been here for a few weeks now) however I really didn't fancy a heavy dish such as a pasta or a bake but still wanted that comfort food sensation.  This is how everyone feels mid week and during winter right?

I find cooking with chicken breast fillets easy for a mid week meal.  They tend to cook quickly in most applications and unless overcooked are a tender juicy protein for a good dinner.  So armed with a few nicely sized chicken breasts I set upon preparing a comfort food dish and knew it had to be creamy of some sort.  An email had arrived, Taste were promoting 50 One-Pot Winners, so of course I had to stop and have a read... love celebration posts highlighting certain ingredients, seasons, styles of cooking, etc.  I came across One Pot Italian Chicken and was intrigued with the flavours.

Pure Italian flavours of garlic, tomato and basil enveloped in a creamy sauce - aaaaahhhhh my tastebuds were in heaven just reading the recipe let alone cooking it.   It sounded easy.  It sounded delicious. It was now on the menu.

Everything I have just mentioned was true - quick (on the table in less than 30 minutes), easy (simple ingredients and techniques) and flavoursome (who doesn't like Italian?).

No pasta in sight tonight, instead I roasted some chat potatoes, steamed carrots and broccoli.  There was a bread basket of small crusty bread rolls to sop up the creamy sauce - you know that you just have to do that when it comes to a dish with lots of sauce.

Delizioso .... 

Creamy Italian Chicken
(recipe adapted from Taste.com.au)

Serves: 4

4 small chicken breasts fillets, trimmed
freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons olive oil
20 grams reduced fat butter
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
80 grams sun-dried tomatoes, sliced
1/3 cup dry white wine
1 cup reduced fat thickened cream
1/2 cup chicken stock
60 grams baby spinach
1 cup fresh basil leaves, torn

Season chicken with salt and pepper.

Heat the oil and butter in a large non-stick frying pan over high heat until butter is foamy. Add the seasoned chicken  to the pan. Reduce heat to medium-high. Cook the chicken for 5 minutes each side to until just cooked through. Transfer to a plate. Cover with foil to keep warm.

Place the garlic in the pan. Cook, stirring, for 1 minute or until aromatic.

Add the tomatoes and stir to coat.

Add the wine and cook for 1 minute or until reduced.

Add the cream and stock. Return the chicken to the pan and simmer for 5 minutes or until liquid is reduced.

Stir through the spinach until wilted. 

Season to taste and sprinkle with the basil leaves.

Serve with vegetables and crusty bread, if desired.

(Click here for a printable version of this recipe)

Monday, May 27, 2019

Korean Beef Bowl

Being a full time working mam I am always on the look out for really quick but flavoursome meals for week nights.  And to be perfectly honest the least pots and pans used the better - I am sure we will all agree on that.

Tonight's recipe is courtesy of a website I came across while menu planning for this week.  The site, Chew Out Loud, is magic.  Amy is very inspirational and like all of us, very busy with life's commitments. Go over and check it out.... you too will be impressed.

Like all Asian dishes the flavours are clean and the ingredients are fresh.  This dish came together in minutes and was bursting with flavour.  A combination of salty, sweet and spicy made boring old beef mince very enjoyable and made me want to eat a lot more than what my stomach could handle.  

A good tip from Amy is to mix the beef into the rice a little so there is no plain rice is sitting by itself at the bottom - wise words.

For such a simple dish this one ticked a lot of boxes - quick, easy and jam packed with flavour.

Korean Beef Bowl
(Recipe adapted from Chew Out Loud)

Serves: 4

1 1/2 cups rice of your choice
1/4 cup Tamari (GF, reduced sodium soy sauce)
2 tablespoons pure honey
1 tablespoon toasted dark Asian sesame oil
1 teaspoon crushed chilli flakes
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 brown onion, chopped
5 cloves garlic, chopped
500 grams extra lean ground beef 
1 cup fresh bean sprouts, to garnish
1/2 bunch coriander, chopped, to garnish
2 spring onions, thinly sliced, to garnish
toasted sesame seeds, to garnish
extra crushed chilli flakes, to garnish

Cook rice as per packet directions, drain and keep warm.

In a bowl, combine tamari, honey, sesame oil and chilli flakes.  Stir to combine well. Set aside.

In a wok or large frying pan, heat olive oil over medium high heat until slightly smoking. 

Add onion and garlic, stirring 2-3 minutes or until aromatic and translucent. 

Add ground beef and stir while breaking the beef up into small bits, about 1-2 minutes or until just browned. 

Add your sauce mixture and stir to combine thoroughly with beef. Continue to cook until beef is  cooked through.

Serve immediately over bowls of warm rice, gently mixing the beef into the rice a bit. Garnish as desired with bean sprouts, coriander, spring onions, sesame seed and crushed chilli flakes.

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Baked Spicy Chicken Tacos

I have really been wanting Mexican for some time now but didn't want the usual boring beef tacos that are normally a mid week quick fix for dinner.  Then, as normal, I enlisted the help of my friend Google and came up with some fantastic ideas as always.

After deciding I would try baked tacos - the next decision was all about what filling I wanted.  There are so many different flavour combinations out there.  Something that everyone would eat is always the main criteria so chicken was a must.  And of course, being me, I had to add those vegetables in.  In this version I just used onion, corn, capsicum and black beans - I guess any vegetable would work though depending on your preferences.

This meal was so easy and perfect for a mid week dinner.  To make it even easier you could always used a cooked chicken from the supermarket rather than poaching the chicken yourself.  If you can save time cooking dinner during the week - go for it!

Flavours were magic - fixed my Mexican craving that's for sure.  A little spicy as I used my Homemade Taco Seasoning rather than shop brought.  However the additional cumin and garlic gave the flavours a little more depth and the lime juice added a beautiful zing.

I was pleasantly surprised at the crunchiness of the taco shells as I did expect them to sog a little and set the table with knives and forks at the ready.  No need.  This dinner was definitely finger food worthy and I am pleased to say completely all eaten... with lots of compliments from the family.

Baked Spicy Chicken Tacos

Serves: 6 - 8

4 chicken breast fillets
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 onions, diced
1 cup corn kernels
1 x 400 gram can Black Beans, rinsed and drained
1 red capsicum, finely diced
2 limes, juiced
2 teaspoons taco seasoning (or as desired)
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
20 Stand and Stuff (flat bottomed) taco shells
2 cups grated  cheddar cheese
1½ cups shredded iceberg lettuce
2 tomatoes, diced
2 tablespoons chopped coriander
taco sauce or preferred sauce, for garnish

Trim fat off the chicken fillets and cut into 3 pieces.

Bring a medium saucepan of water to boil and add the chicken, salt and pepper.  Stir to ensure that the fillets do not stick together.  

Bring the water to the boil again and reduce heat to medium-low.  Allow chicken to simmer for 20 minutes. After 10 minutes add the onions.  Drain and set aside allowing to the chicken to cool.

In a large bowl mix together the corn, black beans, capsicum, lime juice, taco seasoning, cumin and garlic powder.

When chicken has cooled, shred using 2 forks or your preferred method.

Add chicken and onions to the bowl of vegetables.  Stir to combine well.

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius. 

Arrange the taco shells inside 2 large baking dishes (not too loosely or they will fall over).

Sprinkle a little cheese into the bottom of each taco shell.

Divide the chicken mixture among the taco shells and top with the remaining cheese.

Bake for 10 - 15 minutes or until tacos are warmed through and cheese is golden and melted.

Serve accompanied with lettuce, tomato and coriander.  Top with taco sauce if desired.

(Click here for a printable version of this recipe)

Thursday, May 2, 2019

Sticky Chinese Pork and Vegetables

Fakeaway at it's finest tonight.  Tender pork and crisp vegetables in a sweet yet slightly spicy sauce served on a bed of rice noodles.  Quick, easy and best of all it's nicer on the hip pocket.

The key to making fakeaway Asian meals at home is to ensure that you have all the ingredients ready as once you start cooking the meal comes together very quickly.

No need to marinade the pork fillet as it's a tender meat - also it's one that cooks quickly. So a quick toss in a chinese five spice based sauce while you prep all the other ingredients is all that was needed.  

We used rice noodles as they are gluten free but you can use any noodle you prefer or even rice if desired.  You will need something however to help soak up the delicious sauce.

Not a fan of chilli or love chilli - adjust the quantities to suit yourselves.

A switch I did was use peanuts.  The original recipe called for cashews but I had peanuts - use any nuts you like to be honest.

No doubting that this dish just rose to the top of the pork dish list of favourites.  Even my mother had seconds!  

Sticky Chinese Pork and Vegetables
(Recipe adapted Taste.com.au)

Serves: 4

600 grams pork fillet, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons gluten free soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon Chinese five spice
2 teaspoons fish sauce
250 gram packet dried rice stick noodles
1 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 red onion, halved, cut into thin wedges
1 tablespoon grated ginger
2 teaspoons crushed garlic
1 teaspoon crushed chilli
1 red capsicum, thinly sliced
1 carrot, halved, sliced diagonally
1 teaspoon gluten free chicken stock powder
1/4 cup water
2 teaspoons cornflour
1 bunch baby pak choy, roughly chopped
250 grams snow peas, trimmed
1/4 cup gluten free oyster sauce
1/4 cup dry roasted peanuts
1 long red chilli, sliced diagonally

Combine pork, sugar, soy sauce, five spice and fish sauce in a medium bowl. Toss to coat.

Prepare rice stick noodles, following packet directions until tender. Drain well. Cover to keep warm.

Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a wok or large frying pan over medium-high heat. Stir-fry pork, in 2 batches, for 1 to 2 minutes or until golden. Transfer to a bowl.

Heat remaining oil in wok over high heat. Stir-fry onion, ginger, garlic, chilli, capsicum and carrot for 5 minutes or until just tender. 

In a small jug mix stock powder, water and cornflour until combined.  

Add pork, pak choy, snow peas, stock mixture and oyster sauce. Stir-fry for 2 to 3 minutes or until pork is cooked through and snow peas are tender. 

Serve with rice noodles and sprinkle with peanuts and sliced chilli.

Saturday, April 27, 2019

Fettucine Carbonara

Delicious and rich, this pasta dish makes the ultimate occasional indulgence.  I say this as it is definitely something that you wouldn't have too often for two reasons.

The first being that the flavours are so decadent and mourish that it is hard to stop at one bowl full even if you have eaten enough.

The second is that it isn't the best dish to cook if you are on a diet.  I do try and lighten up a lot of the recipes that I cook but some you just have to keep it basic and stick to the original recipes.  (However saying this I have made this one gluten free by swapping out the pasta).

My kids adore this dish - it is definitely a comfort meal and it's one that I go to as it is very quick and easy to prepare, cook and serve.

Fettucine Carbonara

Serves: 4

400 grams gluten free fettucine, or pasta of your choice
1 tablespoons olive oil
250 grams pancetta or bacon, cut into strips
1 large brown onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, crushed
300 ml pure cream
3 eggs
1 cup finely grated parmesan, plus extra to serve
1/3 cup chopped continental parsley

Boil a large saucepan full of water and cook pasta following packet directions until al dente. Drain well.

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. 

Add pancetta and onion. Cook for 8 minutes or until pancetta is golden. 

Add the garlic and cook for a further 2 minutes.

Whisk cream and eggs in a bowl. Stir in parmesan and season with salt and pepper. 

Add pancetta mixture and cream mixture to hot pasta and toss to combine. 

Stir through parsley and serve immediately sprinkled with extra parmesan.

(Click here for a printable version of this recipe)

Sunday, April 21, 2019

Bakewell Tart

March and April see a string of birthdays in our family.  This year we were bless with our daughter turning 18 and our son turning 21 both in March.  April followed up with our niece's 8th birthday, Dad/Grandad's birthday and of course, hubby turning 50!  No shortage of candles in the House of Murray that's for sure. 

There were several French Vanilla Cheesecakes made along with a couple of Gluten Free Devil's Food Cakes (Chocolate Mud Cakes) but for Dad/Grandad I really wanted to make something that was old school and being that we are all from British background this Bakewell Tart really hit the spot.

A Bakewell tart, as I believe it should be, has a crisp sweet shortcrust pastry base, a layer of thick jam, a generous frangipane filling and flaked almonds.  But honestly, like with everything, everyone has their own versions and there are so many recipes out there to follow.

All I can say is that Dad/Grandad was very happy with his birthday Bakewell Tart (not to mention everyone else in the family).  

Bakewell Tart
(Recipe adapted from Delicious Magazine UK)

Serves: 8 - 10

200 grams plain flour, plus extra for dusting
2 tablespoons icing sugar
100 grams unsalted butter, chilled and diced
1 large free-range egg, beaten
1 tablespoon milk

150 grams  unsalted butter, at room temperature
150 grams caster sugar
3 large free-range eggs, at room temperature, beaten
150 grams ground almonds
grated zest of 1 lemon
6 tablespoons cherry or raspberry jam
2 tablespoons flaked almonds

Sift the flour, icing sugar and a pinch of salt into a large bowl. 

Using your fingertips, rub in the butter until it forms fine crumbs. 

Add the beaten eggs and milk and lightly bring together to form a firm dough, taking care not to handle it any more than necessary. 

Shape into a disc (which will be easier to roll out later), then chill, wrapped in cling film, for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius.   

Roll the pastry out on a lightly floured surface to 4mm thick. 

Lift pastry, trying not to stretch and place over a 23cm fluted, loose-bottomed tart tin or a quiche/flan dish.  Using your fingers gently push the pastry into the tin. Trim the excess and prick all over with a fork. Chill for 30 minutes.

Place the tin onto a baking tray.  Line the pastry case with baking paper and fill with baking beans or rice.

Place tray in oven and bake for 15 minutes, then remove the beans/rice and paper.

Cook for a further 5 minutes until pale golden and dry on top.

Meanwhile beat the remaining butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy. 

Beat in the eggs a little at a time, then fold in the ground almonds and lemon zest.

Spread the jam evenly across the base of the pastry case, then spoon over the sponge mixture, levelling the surface with the back of the spoon. Scatter with almonds. 

Bake for 35-40 minutes until golden, well risen and just set in the centre.

Leave to cool in the tin for 5 minutes, then lift onto a wire rack and leave to cool completely, if desired (we enjoy ours still warm).

Happy Birthday Dad/Grandad

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Asian Peanut Noodles with Chicken

News Flash - I am absolutely in love with Skinnytaste - I won't lie.  It's a web site full of skinny recipes, not to mention skinny tips, that totally makes me drool while I am reading every new recipe that is uploaded.  Gina is amazing.  So if you haven't been to her site, pop on over as I am sure that you will absolutely love it.

This recipe is a Skinnytaste recipe.  One I had actually had my eye on for awhile.  Who am I kidding I want to cook everything from Skinny Taste.

Seriously though what could go wrong to tantalise the taste buds with chicken, noodles and vegetables enveloped in a spicy, crunchy, sweet and salty thick peanut sauce that was absolutely to die for.  Whilst there was a little modification from the recipe trying to make this Gluten Free friendly I don't think I have changed it a great deal.  I did omit one step as I knew my rice noodles wouldn't handle being tossed in the sauce so I just plated them up and layered the rest of the dish on top.  I originally thought I would use Korean Sweet Potato Noodles but I seriously did something wrong with them and they ended up in the bin.  

Overall this dish was enjoyed by all.  Garnished with chopped peanuts and coriander with lime wedges to enable you to add extra flavour it was definitely a winner.

Asian Peanut Chicken with Noodles
(Recipe adapted from Skinny Taste)

Serves: 6
SmartPoints per Serve: 9

For the Peanut Sauce:
1 cup reduced sodium chicken stock
5 tablespoons Mathers peanut butter
1 tablespoon Sriracha chili sauce
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons gluten free soy sauce
1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
2 cloves garlic, minced

For the chicken:
500 grams chicken breast, cut into thin strips
1 tablespoon Sriracha chili sauce (more or less to taste)
juice of 1/2 lime
4 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated
1 tablespoon gluten free soy sauce
1/2 tablespoon sesame oil
200 grams rice noodles
4 spring onions, chopped
1 -1/4 cups shredded carrots
1- 1/4 cups cup shredded broccoli slaw
1 cup bean bean sprouts
2 tablespoons chopped peanuts
1 lime, sliced into wedges
coriander for garnish (if desired)

Combine 1 cup chicken stock, peanut butter, sriracha, honey, 2 tbsp soy sauce, ginger, and 3 cloves crushed garlic in a small saucepan and simmer over medium-low heat stirring occasionally until sauce becomes smooth and well blended, about 5-10 minutes. Set aside.

Boil water for the noodles cook pasta according to package instructions.

Meanwhile season chicken with salt and pepper, sriracha, lime, garlic, ginger and soy sauce.

Heat a large frying pan or wok until hot. Add oil and sauté chicken on high heat until cooked through, about 2-3 minutes; remove from heat and set aside.

Once the noodles are cooked, drain and toss with peanut sauce (add additional chicken stock if needed to loosen the sauce).Add chicken to the noodles and toss to combine.

To the same wok add 2 cloves crushed garlic, spring onions, carrots, broccoli slaw, bean sprouts and salt, sauté until tender crisp, about 1-2 minutes.

Divide noodles and chicken between 6 bowls, top with sauteed vegetables, bean sprouts, chopped peanuts (or you can toss everything together to hide the vegetables so your family members don’t push them aside!) and garnish with coriander, peanuts and lime wedges.

OR (as I did):

Drain noodles and spread over serving platter.

Add cooked chicken to the peanut sauce and toss to combine (add additional chicken stock if needed to loosen the sauce).

To the same wok add 2 cloves crushed garlic, spring onions, carrots, broccoli slaw, bean sprouts and salt, sauté until tender crisp, about 1-2 minutes.

Add chicken mixture to vegetables and stir well to completely combine.

Once warmed through, place chicken mixture on top of noodles.  Garnish with coriander, chopped peanuts and lime wedges.

(Click here for a printable version of this recipe)

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Singapore Chilli Lobster Tails

Noel knows that when it comes to meat or seafood I can never, ever, walk past a bargain.  Tonight was no different.  Lobster tails reduced by 50% that had to be eaten asap.  Shame really to have an excuse to cook and eat something that we both really enjoy.

The simplest way to cook lobster tails is to fry them in garlic butter, which has an amazing flavour but I just didn't fancy that at all.  In fact, I was really wanting spice and heat.  Instantly the mind wanders... mmmm chilli!

Singapore chilli sauce has hot, sour, sweet and salty flavours that many dishes of Southeast Asia are known for, not to mention the powerful kicks of garlic and ginger.  It's all about the balance of the flavours.  While there are many recipes for Singapore Chilli sauce I found this one to be easy to make with minimal fuss while still having a wonderful array of ingredients.  You could also add lime juice for the extra level of flavour - I didn't with this dish as I wanted the delicate flavours of the lobster to remain a highlight.

Another interesting characteristic about this sauce is that it is quite thick.  I love this!  I love the way that it clings to the food and isn't watery. It envelopes everything in the wok and becomes part of the meal not just a sauce on the side or sitting at the bottom.

With the fact that any left over sauce will keep for about a week in the fridge you can get a second chance to have it again just to make sure you really did enjoy it... LOL!

Needless to say someone aka Noel was very happy with his dinner..........

Singapore Chilli Lobster Tails
(Recipe adapted from Good Chef Bad Chef)

Serves: 2 as a main
Smart Points per Serve: 8

Serves: 4 as an entree
Smart Points per Serve: 4

5 - 6 small lobster tails
1/2 red onion, finely diced
3 garlic cloves, grated
2 small red chillies, thinly sliced, extra for garnish
2 teaspoons grated ginger
1/2 cup tomato ketchup
1 1/2 tablespoon kecap manis
1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
2 teaspoons fish sauce
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
1/2 cup roughly chopped coriander leaves, plus extra for garnish
1/2 cup water
1 tablespoon corn flour
2 teaspoons oil
1 spring onion, finely sliced

Rinse and pat dry the lobster tails.  Cut in half length ways.

In a medium bowl or jug mix together the onion, garlic, chilli, ginger, ketchup, kecap manis, soy sauce, hoisin sauce, fish sauce, rice wine vinegar and coriander.  Mix well.  

Combine water and cornflour in a small bowl or jug.  Stir into sauce, mixing well.

Heat oil in a wok over high heat.

Add the lobster tails, and toss until they start to change colour.  Continue to cook, tossing, for 4 - 5 minutes.

Add sauce mixture and stir toss tails through the sauce.  Cook until sauce starts to bubble and thicken.  (If too thick add a little more water and bring back to the boil).

Remove from heat and serve garnished with spring onion, coriander and chilli slices.

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Butter Chicken Rice Pie

Total heaven in a casserole dish this meal was.  I must admit we all love butter chicken in the Murray household so I had a feeling this would definitely be a winner winner chicken dinner!

Now we all know that Indian cooking is all about the spices and the marinating time for many of their meals, butter chicken definitely being one of those dishes.   However this dish was put together in under 30 minutes and in the oven for around the same time.  It definitely could not be any easier to make and the flavours were very authentic.

A rich yet not overly spicy butter chicken, with hints of cinnamon, chilli and garam marsala through the creamy tomato sauce.  In all honestly you would think that it had been marinating for days and slowly cooked.

The rice topping well it made the dish!  The rice laced with Saffron threads and peas provided  a crunchy top yet was still soft underneath drawing up the butter chicken.  It was such a treat instead of having a spoonful on the side.

Needless to say leftovers were quickly packed up in containers and labelled with individual's names for lunches tomorrow.  I'm crossing fingers I get some.

Butter Chicken Rice Pie
(recipe adapted from Taste.com.au)

Serves: 6
SmartPoints per serve: 10

1/2 cup Chobani low fat plain yoghurt
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon mild chilli powder
1 teaspoon garam masala
1 kilogram chicken breast fillets, cut into 4cm pieces
1 1/2 cups basmati rice
Pinch of saffron threads
3/4 cup frozen peas
20 grams butter
1 brown onion, chopped
1 large red capsicum, chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 cup tomato puree
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/2 cup thickened light cream
cooking spray
fresh coriander leaves, to serve

Preheat oven to 220 degrees Celsius or 200 degrees Celsius fan-forced.

Combine yoghurt, tomato paste, cinnamon, chilli powder and garam masala in a bowl. Mix well.

Add chicken. Toss to coat well. Set aside.

Place rice and 2 cups water in a large heavy-based saucepan over high heat. Stir with a fork. Sprinkle with saffron. Cover. Bring to the boil. Reduce heat to low. Simmer for 10 minutes or until liquid is just absorbed and rice is almost tender. Remove from heat.

Add peas. Season. Stir with fork. Set aside.

Meanwhile, melt butter in a large, deep frying pan over medium-high heat. Add onion. Cook, stirring, for 3 minutes.

Add capsicum. Cook, stirring, for 5 minutes or until onion has softened.

Add garlic. Cook, stirring, for 1 minute or until fragrant.

Add chicken and marinade to pan. Cook, stirring, for 2 minutes or until chicken just starts to change colour.

Add tomato puree and sugar. Cook, stirring until combined. Bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low. Simmer for 5 minutes.

Stir in cream. Season with salt and pepper.

Spoon chicken mixture into an 8 cup-capacity roasting pan.

Place rice mixture evenly over the top of the chicken.

Spray rice liberally with cooking spray.

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until top is golden and crunchy.

Top with coriander leaves and serve.

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Colin Fassnidge's Lamb Bolognese

Well I have a little obsession with My Kitchen Rules (MKR) and MasterChef.  Obviously people that know me would just roll their eyes into the back of their heads reading this.  I especially love watching the celebrity chefs on both shows, saying this one of my favourite chefs is Colin Fassnidge.

I came across this recipe on Delicious.com awhile ago while doing my second favourite pastime - googling! I don't normally cook with lamb mince but intrigue by the complexity of the flavours but the simplicity of the ingredients.  So it went on my "to cook list".

Menu planning this week, which I do every Saturday morning, I decided this would be our dinner one night.  Ironically I chose Monday night.  Whilst preparing dinner and watching MKR here I stood in the kitchen stiring Colin Fassnidge's Lamb Bolognese only to be watching him on the TV!!!  (Insert school girl giggle here!!)

Anyways I wasn't wrong about this dish... it was magical and such a welcome change from the good ol' spag bol my kids have grown to hate (apparently I have gone overboard in the hiding vegetables category in the normal bolognese sauce).  Everyone enjoyed.  The texture of the lamb mince compared to using beef was a change and the use of fresh herbs lifted the sauce to another level.  A surprise ingredient was a fennel bulb which wasn't overpowering and didn't leave an aniseed taste - in fact I would say it added a little sweetness to the sauce. 

The cooking process was quite simple and once the last ingredient was added all that was left was for it to simmer and thicken.  While this was happening the house filled with the combination of the fresh herbs and tomatoes - you know what I mean - it's that welcoming smell of home cooked goodness!

Overall, a magic pasta sauce which will definitely please anyone and will be cooked again.  Thanks Colin xx

Colin Fassnidge's Lamb Bolognese
(Recipe adapted from Delicious.com)

Serves: 6
SP per serve:  9

500 grams lamb mince
2 onions, diced
1 baby fennel, diced
3 carrots, diced
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
¼ bunch each thyme, leaves picked and chopped
 ¼ bunch rosemary, leaves picked and chopped
¼ bunch sage, leaves picked and chopped
100ml white wine
2 cups sugo (or tomato passata)
2 cups chicken stock
freshly ground black pepper
400 grams tagliatelle normal or Gluten Free
Grated Parmesan to serve, if desired

Place a large heavy-based pan over high heat. Add mince, and cook for 8 minutes or until excess liquid has evaporated, breaking up larger pieces with a spoon. Remove meat with a slotted spoon and set aside.

In the same pan, add onion, fennel and carrot. Cook 7 minutes, stirring regularly. Add garlic and herbs, and cook for 2 minutes or until fragrant. Return mince to the pan and combine.

Add wine and cook for 3 minutes or until slightly reduced. Add sugo and stock.

Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium and simmer 40 minutes or until sauce has thickened.  Season with salt and pepper.

Meanwhile, cook pasta in salted boiling water according to packet instructions. Drain.

When sauce is ready, serve, and top with Parmesan, if desired.

Thursday, January 31, 2019

Spicy Prawn & Scallop Fettuccine

While hubby and I are absolute self confessed foodaholics there are times (not many) that we are actually over food.  This obvious happens after we have eaten too well for too long.  Every now and then we fancy something plain Jane and easy.  This often includes Eggs, Beans and Chips for dinner which the kids think is actually fantastic by the way.

Tonight, after eating an abundance of good food between Christmas through to Australia Day weekend (last weekend) we both fancied something simple and easy yet full of flavour.  Funnily enough we both fancied seafood but didn't want anything Asian as we had just had lunch in Chinatown the previous Sunday.  Plus we always seem to cook prawns and scallops with an Asian influence.

While googling recipes, my next favourite hobby after cooking, I came across an Aussie blogger and her website Em's Food for Friends.  Let me tell you I am so glad that I did.  A really good read, full of recipes and delicious pictures.  And thats where I found a recipe for Spicy Prawn and Scallop Spaghetti.  From that moment dinner was sorted although there would be a few small alterations.

I didn't cut the prawns and scallops up as I prefer them whole.  I did however remove the shells of the tails of the prawns as that is a PET HATE of mine when you go to a restaurant and order a dish where you use cutlery and you have to battle prawn tail shells.  I am also not a fan of the roe on scallops so I purchase scallops with the roe already removed.  If you like the roe, add that in it too.

Overall this seafood laced pasta dish was magic. Starting with the simplicity of cooking all components right through to eating perfectly cooked seafood and pasta in a chilli, garlic and lemon tomato based sauce.  Both hubby and I were really surprised by the dish we will now also put on our comfort food list especially when we fancy something different.  We will definitely be cooking this again.

Spicy Prawn & Scallop Fettuccine
(Recipe adapted from Ems Food For Friends)

Serves: 4
SmartPoints per Serve:

300 gram fettuccine or pasta of your choice
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 tablespoon crushed garlic
2 teaspoon of dried chilli flakes
1 lemon
1/2 cup dry white wine
400 gram tin chopped tomatoes
1/2 cup reduced fat cream
1/2 teaspoon white sugar
freshly cracked pepper
600 grams raw green prawn meat, cleaned and patted dry
400 grams scallops, without roe, cleaned and patted dry
1/4 cup finely chopped flat leaf parsley

Cook your pasta according to packet instructions.  When almost al dente, drain and set aside.

Heat a large fry pan and add a little olive oil. Lightly fry the garlic, lemon zest and chilli flakes for approximately 1 minute.

Pour in the lemon juice and wine.

Allow to reduce for a few minutes.

Add the tomatoes, cream and sugar, season with salt and pepper. Stir well to combine and allow to simmer.

Fold the scallops, prawns and 2 tablespoons parsley through the simmering sauce.

Bring the mixture back to a simmer.

Add the pasta to the pan.

Toss well to combine.

Place in a large serving bowl, sprinkle with remaining parsley and serve immediately.

(Click here for a printable version of this recipe)

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Baked Jalapeño Popper Stuffed Chicken

Welcome to 2019!  Yes I am aware that it is nearly the end of January so I am a little behind.  To be honest, January has been a very hard and busy month with some days being unforgiving and others allowing us to create some beautiful memories.

As many of you may know, we moved house at the end of October so the last few months of 2018 were kind of busy especially working full time and trying to unpack a house in time for Christmas.  Christmas, my favourite time of the year, was held at our house this year.  It was extra special with several family members arriving from interstate and staying with us.

My mam nearly didn't make it as she is battling (and kicking arse) with Breast Cancer.  She was diagnosed in August and has several operations to remove the tumour, which we have been told was a success.  To ensure that all the gremlins are out of her body her doctor advised that she undergo Chemotherapy more as a preventative measure rather than a treatment.  The chemo sessions were fast tracked and she actually didn't know if she would get to spend Christmas in Melbourne with us.  However mam underwent her first chemo on the 19th December in Brisbane and arrived in Melbourne on the 20th.  She looked fantastic, she was in good spirits and somewhat good heath during her visit.  The chemo didn't really hit her that hard (as you hear horror stories from other people's journeys) but her visit was only short due to having to return to Queensland for her 2nd chemo session on the 7th January.

Not only was my mam with us for Christmas and the New Year but as was my gorgeous sister Clare and niece Charlie.  They live in Sydney and came down for a few weeks, spending most of the time with her's and Noel's parents, but as she does every year celebrates New Years with us.  We also had the pleasure of having my Aunty Maggie, who lives in Anna Bay (near Newcastle, NSW).  Aunty Maggie and I are both January babies with her birthday being on the 7th and mine being on the 8th.  This special year my Aunty turned 80 and even though we haven't celebrated our birthday's together for many years - we did this year and it was beautiful to be able to do so.

Needless to say with everything going on in December and January, I have had to focus on me and my family.  A little selfish but I am sure, totally understandable.  Saying this the house as we know it is starting to return to some sort of normality and while I didn't stop cooking during our absence I am truly looking forward to getting back in to trying new dishes and sharing them with you all.

This said, I had been dying to try this recipe not only due to simple mention of a Jalapeño Poppers but because it's ingredients including several of my favourite foods - bacon, cheese and Jalapeños!  Not to mention it being stuffed chicken dish.  I love cutting into a chicken kiev or really any stuffed chicken dish and watching the fillings ooze out... mmmmmm.

Speaking of Jalapeño Poppers here a few of our favourites:
This dish, as mentioned, is flavoursome due to the bacon, two types of cheese and the ever popular Jalapeño.  The flavours literally melted together and produced this creamy filling the tantalised the taste buds. The coating was crisp and laced with mixed herbs.  I used Gluten Free rice crumbs but you could use normal bread crumbs or even Panko for extra crispiness.  To get the coating to stick to the chicken a combination of lime juice and olive oil did the job perfectly.

Jalapeños, like all chillis, are very interesting as you never know the intensity of the heat that they will produce.  Removing the seeds and the membranes does reduce the heat associated with chillis but then sometimes you just get a bloody hot chilli with or without the seeds and membrane!

Rolling up this parcel of goodness was a little fiddly.  To be honest I probably put too much filling in considering a few of my chicken breast fillets were a little small.  But overall not upset as I created a nice sauce also to serve on the side.

Everyone enjoyed the combination of flavours, the textures and the overall dish.  Every mouthfull was creamy, smoky, and spicy laced with lime and herb crumbs.  Well worth the effort - thank you Gina for sharing this and many more "Skinny Taste" recipes.

Baked Jalapeño Popper Stuffed Chicken
(Recipe adapted from Skinnytaste.com)

Serves: 4
SmartPoints per serve: 6

cooking spray
100 grams center cut bacon
4 skinless chicken breast fillets
2 spring onions, finely sliced
3 jalapeños, chopped (remove seeds for milder)
85 grams reduced fat cream cheese, softened
110 grams reduced fat grated tasty cheese
1/2 cup Gluten Free rice crumbs
2 teaspoons dried mixed herbs
1 1/2 juicy limes, juiced
1 tablespoon olive oil
freshly ground pepper

Preheat oven to 220 degrees Celsius.

Lightly spray a baking dish with non-stick spray.

Place one chicken fillet between two pieces of grease proof paper and using a kitchen mallet or rolling bin flatten until each is of an even thickness.

Heat a large frying pan over medium high heat.  Spray with cooking spray and cook bacon until crisp.  Remove from pan to cool.

Finely slice spring onions.

Finely dice jalapenos, removing seeds and membranes if you prefer a milder heat.

Place cream cheese, cheddar, scallions, jalapeño and bacon crumbles in a medium bowl.

Mix well to combine.

Lay chicken fillets on a working surface and evening spread the cream cheese mixture on each fillet.

Loosely roll each one, secure the ends with toothpicks to prevent the cheese from oozing out.

Place breadcrumbs and mixed herbs in a bowl.  Mix well.

In a second bowl combine olive oil, lime juice, salt and pepper.  Mix well.

Dip chicken in lime-oil mixture.

Then in breadcrumbs and place seam side down on a baking dish.

Repeat with the remaining chicken.

When finished, lightly spray the top of the chicken with oil spray.

Bake 22-25 minutes, serve immediately.

Serve with 0 SP salad, if desired.