Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Dukkah Crusted Chicken with Ratatouille

Cooking in a caravan...

We have bought a caravan and have been doing some traveling, which is one of the reasons why I haven't been blogging as much as I would like, but I have been taking photos of what I've been making.
This photo was taken on our last trip into Western Australia's South West. We were staying in a town called Denmark and had been touring the wineries and other various places around the area. My husband isn't a huge fan of Dukkah, but we'd found this one at a place called Duckett's Mill, they sell wine, make their own cheese, dukkah, preserves and fudge. A great place if you ever get the chance to visit.
Anyway, hubby tasted this dukkah and liked it, a very rare thing indeed, and not only that, but it was really quite cheap (and nut free for those with nut allergies). The guy who owns the place was serving us and it was his suggestion that we put it on chicken, so we decided to give it a go. I also had some zucchini that needed to be used, carrots and mushrooms so I made a ratatouille (also have tins of tomatoes in the caravan), the sweetness of the vegies complimented the dukkah really well and the creaminess of the fetta was also really nice. We had bought some onion and garlic fromage from Duckett's Mill that we were going to use, but we ate it all first :p

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Vietnamese Wraps

Addiction Day 3 - Posted on Day 4

I wanted to use the left over ingredients from the lettuce wraps but in a slightly different way. So I bought some rice paper sheets and thought I'd give them a go. I didn't really know what i was doing and they are super fragile when wet so managed to put some good holes in them, but they seemed pretty good. I made them a little in advance as I wanted to take some over to my neighbour. By the time hubby and I ate them for dinner though they were too wet and fell apart as soon as we picked them up. Further research is required I think. They looked good though.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Koren BBQ Chicken Lettuce Wraps

Addiction Day 3 (posted on day 4)

Ok, so weekend over, back on the liver cleansing diet. This means no dairy, no red meat and as few additives and preservatives as possible and as many vegetables as possible. And obviously fairly low fat.

I have a quite limited menu when we are liver cleansing as we are both quite fussy in our own way and the diet itself is limiting obviously, so it’s nice to find something new to add to the repertoire and this will definitely be featuring more often, whether we are liver cleansing or not.

I found these on another blog and they looked way too yummy to pass up. Substitute the beef for chicken, a change the vegetables in the wrap and Bob’s your Uncle, well actually it’s Mike, but you know what I mean.

Korean Barbecue Lettuce Wraps

Ingredients for Marinade:

· 1 spring onion, minced

· 3 cloves of garlic, minced

· 1 inch of ginger, minced

· 1 tsp chili flakes

· 1/2 cup of soy sauce

· 1 tbsp sesame oil

· 1 tbsp honey

· 1 tsp brown sugar

· 1/4 cup of rice vinegar

· skinless chicken breast, cut across the grain, thinly sliced – alternatively you could use beef of pork. I only used 1 breast as I didn’t want leftovers and there were only 2 of us eating this.

Combine the marinade ingredients to a mixing bowl, and mix until the sugar is completely dissolved. Add the chicken and coat thoroughly – I use a Tupperware season serve so you can turn it periodically and it is water tight, you can use a zip lock bag if you don’t have something similar. Place the marinating chicken in the fridge for at least 2 hours, however overnight is always best.

Cook the strips of chicken (or other meat) in a heated wok, and quickly sear on each side. You will love these as they get some really nice carmelization from the sugar and honey.

For the Lettuce Wraps:

You can use whatever is available in your area and in season, but this is what I chose.

· 1 Lettuce, core sliced off – I used Cos

· Bean Sprouts

· Carrots, sliced into thin batons and blanched.

· Cooked Asian rice noodles, or a very thin spaghetti noodle – I used vermicelli

· Red onion, sliced thinly into wedges

· Baby Zucchini, cut into long thin batons

I threw the onions into the wok before I did the chicken and sautéed them gently before adding the zucchini just to soften it and give it a bit of extra colour.

To make the wrap, take a lettuce cup, and fill it with the noodles, vegetables, and beef.

We loved them so much we ate 3 each. I only cooked one packet of vermicelli, but you don’t use much in each wrap, so I now have an awful lot left over. It was also so yummy that I want to make them again but in a different guise. So I think I’ll go and find some rice paper and make rice paper rolls with basically the same ingredients. With all the ingredients wrapped up they will also be a bit neater to eat and I might send hubby to work with them for lunch too.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Mmm Magical Mexican Cupcakes

Addiction Day 2.

I am not good at reading instructions, I read enough to get the general idea and then get started. This was my first mistake. When reading the recipe I got as far as ‘one 8-inch square’ and stopped. I planned on making cupcakes and I must admit I was a little concerned that it wouldn’t make many but figured I could always make some more, later, if we liked them.

I checked the ingredients, I always have flour in the cupboard so knew I was safe there, I wasn’t sure how much cocoa I had so that went on the shopping list and I knew I didn’t have enough buttermilk or unsalted butter so added those.

Once home, after husband and child had been given lunch and put to bed, I got making. We’d had neighbours over the night before for home-made pizzas, thus I didn’t actually have enough flour, so I raced over to the same neighbours house and ‘borrowed’ some. Then I read the first instruction… ‘cake flour, surely that’s the same as plain’ I thought and began measuring. I decided I should check and so consulted my friend google and no, it’s not the same. Read my earlier post to see the difference and find a substitution.

Flour crisis over, I got back to making. The equivalent of 3 cups of flour later, 3 cups of sugar (I didn’t have enough of that either so used a combination of plain and caster) I was beginning to think that there was rather a lot of cake before me, so I re-read the instructions (I know! Who’d have thought reading instructions could be so helpful?) and noticed that it made one 8-inch square, three layer cake… no, not one 8-inch square cake, but 3 of them! Yep, I’ll have enough cupcakes.

The only other glitch was that my local shop (at the end of the street and the only one open on Sundays – no comment on backwards Perth trading hours) didn’t have buttermilk, so I bought a small carton of cream and figured I’d top it up with milk. The recipe reads 1½ cups buttermilk, mine had about ¼ cup buttermilk, 1 cup of cream and the rest in milk.

Oh and my poor old hand-me-down hand-held beater didn’t cope too well with so much gooey batter, I ended up putting all the liquids in together when the motor of my beater began to squeal and smell a bit funny.

Mexican Chocolate Butter Cake

Adapted from Sky High: Irresistible Triple-Layer Cakes

This recipe is my version, I have Australianised the version I found and added my modifications. You can find the original recipe at Fleur D'elise

Makes one 20cm square, three layer cake or approx 3½ dozen cupcakes

2 ½ cups plain flour

½ cup cornflour or custard powder – I used cornflour.

3 cups sugar

1 ½ cups unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch process), sifted

3 teaspoons baking soda

1 ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

375g unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 ½ cups buttermilk

3 eggs

1 cups freshly brewed espresso coffee, cooled to room temperature

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C. Butter pans, line the bottoms with baking paper and butter the paper.

In a large mixer bowl, combine the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. With the electric mixer on low speed, blend for about 30 seconds.

Add the butter and buttermilk and blend on low until moistened. Raise the speed to medium and beat until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Scrape down the bowl. (Don't skip this step or you will find yourself with a little sandy beach at the bottom of the bowl that never mixed in.)

Whisk the eggs and coffee together, and add to the batter in 3 additions, scraping down the sides of the bowl and beating only until blended after each addition. Divide the batter among the prepared pans.

Bake for 38 to 40 minutes for large cake and 20 minutes for cupcakes, or until a cake tester or wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Carefully turn them out onto wire racks and allow to cool completely. Remove the paper liners only when they are cool.

Cream Cheese Frosting

I adjusted this recipe too, 5 tbs of butter seemed and awful lot, as did 2 cups of icing sugar. So again, this is my version. This made enough to cover almost all my cupcakes well enough, not super thick, but thick enough to not see the cake underneath.

1 pkt Philadelphia cream cheese (250 g)

3 tbs. softened, unsalted butter

2 tsp. vanilla

¾ cups icing sugar, sifted

In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat together the cream cheese, vanilla and butter. Gradually add the powdered sugar, scraping down the sides, and whipping it to spreading consistency. You will need to double or triple this to make enough to frost the Mexican Chocolate Butter Cake, depending on how much frosting you like.

Where to now? I'm going to eat some cupcakes, send some to work with my husband and take some over to the neighbours. Next time I'm going to add more cinnamon and maybe some chilli to make it more authentically 'Mexican'.

'Cake flour' substitute and other irrelevant information including a sponge cake recipe

I have found this posted on a forum, posted by Auzzi. I'm going to re-post it here so I can find it again later :p

2 tablespoons [Australian = 8 teaspoons] of cornflour* placed in a measuring cup and covered with enough plain flour [all-purpose flour] to make up the full measuring cup [1 cup in total]
1 cup cake flour substitute

* either wheaten or maize cornflour can also be used.

2 tablespoons [Australian = 8 teaspoons] of custard powder placed in a measuring cup and covered with enough plain flour [all-purpose flour] to make up the full measuring cup [1 cup in total]
1 cup cake flour substitute

Custard Powder is either based on maize or wheaten cornflour: tweaked during manufacture to produce a pre-mix powder.

NOTES: [totally irrelevant}
Custard powder was invented by a man for his wife who was allergic to eggs - the major ingredient of custard.

Corn in cornflour refers to the fact that corns are the grains, kernels or seeds of cereal crops such as wheat, rye, barley, and maize. Subsequently, Australian cornflour can be either maize or wheaten in origin.

This was also there, I haven't made it yet, but again, am posting it here so I can find it again. It was also posted by Auzzi. Thank you to them.
1 Cup Self Raising flour
2 Tablespoons Custard Powder
3/4 Cup Sugar
1/2 Cup Milk
4 oz butter
2 Eggs
Put all in bowl and mix for 6 minutes. Bake 7" sandwich tin [greased andpaper-lined on bottom] in moderate oven for 35 minutes.

When I get around to making it I'll let you know, until then, I'm off to make mexican chocolate cupcakes!

French Breakfast Puffs

Day 1 of my new addiction.

One of the first recipes to catch my eye was one for French Breakfast Puffs. This may be because I have just read a lovely book called 'Lunch in Paris' by Elizabeth Bard (the book won't set the world on fire, but it is a sweet love story that provides a window into life in Paris and has some fabulous recipes) and these were featured in one of the first chapters. I'm also craving some Paris time and anything French catches my eye at the moment.

So I was up bright and early on Sunday morning (I have a 3 yr old who regularly gets up before 6am so I didn't have much choice in the matter) and got baking. The recipe calls for nutmeg in the puffs, for some strange reason I didn't have any in my pantry but I do have, and love, vanilla bean paste so I substituted that. I made them as mini muffins in patty pans, so they don't have the lovely smooth sides and I could only put the butter and cinnamon sugar on the top, but we decided this was a good thing.

Once my big boy (husband) was awake I threw them in the oven (being smaller they only took 10 minutes to cook), and made some coffee. We took them out into the patio and had a lovely breakfast together.

Please excuse the slightly dodgy photo, I just grabbed the point and shoot and shot. I will endeavour to put more effort into photos in the future.

Follow the link (underlined) to find the recipe from One perfect bite.


I was bored one Saturday night, the boys were watching a boy movie and so I decided to do some stumbling around on the internet (give it a go next time you're bored).

To be honest, I can't remember the first site I found, the second was a very cool artist's blog, he had managed to do one piece of artwork each day of 2009. This will also give you the stumble tool bar.

The third site I stumbled upon (and am still on 2 days later) was the
tastespotting site. This fabulous site has an array of beautifully photographed food that sets your tastebuds watering. Do yourself a favour and have a look next time you're stuck for ideas. So now I have about 40 new recipes printed up and waiting to go, unfortunately I am supposed to be doing the liver cleansing diet to loose a bit of weight and get my stomach healthy again. Luckily we have decided that weekends are diet free days so I can splurge a bit.