Thursday, August 22, 2013

Chinese Lemon Chicken with rice & asian veg with oyster sauce

I've had a craving for this lemon chicken for a few weeks so finally decided to get out my Chinese cookbook and give it a go again (it's been awhile since I made it). The cookbook is simply titled "A little taste of China", check it out here

500g Chicken breast, cut into thin strips
1 tablespoon Light Soy Sauce
1 tablespoon Rice Wine (I substituted with rice wine vinegar)
1 Spring Onion, finely chopped
1 tablespoon Ginger, finely chopped
1 Garlic clove, finely chopped
1 egg, lightly beaten
100g (¾ Cup) cornflour
Vegetable oil for frying
Lemon Sauce
2 tablespoons Lemon Juice
2 teaspoons White Sugar
½ teaspoon Sesame Oil
3 tablespoons Chicken Stock
½ teaspoon Cornflour

Place the chicken in a bowl with the soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, spring onion, ginger and garlic and toss to coat (sorry forgot to take a pic of the ingredients on their own!). Marinate in the fridge for at least an hour (I marinated mine for a few hours, you can even marinate overnight).

Add the egg to the chicken mixture and toss to coat. Drain any excess liquid and and coat the chicken with cornflour.

Fill a wok or saucepan with oil (enough for deep frying) and cook the chicken until pale in colour. Remove from the oil and set aside. You can stop at this point if you make it in advance and then continue the next few points when you're ready to eat. Reheat the oil or return all the chicken to the oil and cook until golden brown in colour.

If using a wok drain out the oil and reheat the wok. I used for a big saucepan for deep frying, I prefer it, and used the wok for the sauce. To make the sauce, combine the lemon juice, sugar, salt, sesame oil, chicken stock and cornflour. 

Heat the wok over medium heat until hot and add the lemon sauce. Stir constantly until the sauce thickens. Add the chicken and toss to coat lightly.

Serve with steamed rice and asian vegetables. I served mine with Chinese green veg in an oyster sauce (I will do a small blogpost for this yummy side soon).

This is fast becoming one of my favourite dishes to cook at home and super handy that I could prepare most of it in advance and then finish cooking it once my husband came home.

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Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Donna Hay's Chicken Soup

This is a Donna Hay recipe I've wanted to try for ages from her book A Cook's Guide . Her chicken soup. The recipe is so simple but I was a tad nervous, I've never made a chicken soup from scratch before. It really was very simple and one that will definitely feature again for dinner in my house.

What you will need for the stock:
1.5kg chicken
3 Litres water (you may need more or less depending on the size of your saucepan, the chicken needs to be completely covered so if you need more or less water that's OK)
4 Bay Leaves
1 teaspoon Black Peppercorns
1 Carrot, peeled and chopped
2 Celery stalks, chopped
1 Onion, chopped
2 Garlic cloves, chopped
For the soup:

1 Carrot, peeled and chopped
2 Celery stalks, chopped
1 Cup Risoni
Salt and Pepper
Parsley, to serve

Make sure the chicken is cleaned of all it's insides (I bought a free range Lilydale chicken from the supermarket and it was clean). Put all the stock ingredients into a large saucepan and bring to the boil.

Cook, covered, for about 1 hour, or until the chicken is cooked (the water will reduce during this time).

Remove the chicken (I used large tongs) and set side to cool.

Strain the stock and discard the vegetables. Return the stock to the pan. You can cook up until this point and then reheat when you need to. I cooked the stock during the day and did the last part at night when we were ready to eat.

Add the carrot, celery, chicken, risoni, salt and pepper and cook for 10-15 minutes.

Serve with crusty bread roll, or one day, like me, with semolina dumplings.

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Friday, April 5, 2013

Donna Hay's Easy Chocolate Cake

Keeping in theme with Donna Hay and chocolate, I decided to try her easy chocolate cake recipe from A Cook's Guide. I've had the book for awhile but not tried a lot of recipes from it (except the pavlova which is fantastic and one I've made over and over). This recipe is very simple and uses sour cream, which I've never done in a cake before. The result is a very light and airy mixture. 

What you will need: 

    250g butter
    1⅓ cups (235g) brown sugar
    3 eggs
    2 cups (300g) plain (all-purpose) flour
    1½ teaspoons baking powder
    ⅓ cup (35g) cocoa powder
    1 Cup (250ml) sour cream
    250g dark chocolate, melted
    Chocolate Glaze
    150g dark chocolate, chopped
    ⅓ cup (80ml) pouring (single) cream

Preheat oven to 160°C (325°F). Grease a 22cm cake tin. Place the butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer. 
Beat until light and creamy. 
Add the eggs and beat well. 

Sift the flour, baking powder and cocoa over the butter mixture, add the sour cream and chocolate. 

Mix until just combined.

Pour the mixture into the tin and bake for 55 minutes–1 hour or until just set. Cool in the tin.

To make the chocolate glaze, combine the chocolate and cream in a saucepan over low heat.

Stir until smooth. Allow the glaze to stand for 5 minutes.

Spread over the top of the cake. 

 Serves 8–10. This cake is delicious, with a crumbly texture. I felt that it needed something to break up the cake, hence the raspberries, or if it wasn't the middle of the afternoon, some yummy vanilla ice cream would go down well with this cake too. 

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Sunday, March 17, 2013

Donna Hay's Chocolate brownies

I have been super absent lately but coping with my first pregnancy has been very tough. Food - everything about food - has really turned me off. In the first trimester I couldn't even talk about food let alone cook, blog or watch my beloved reality cooking shows. Second trimester it eased up a bit and now that I'm in the third trimester I feel like I'm back in the first just a lot bigger and more uncomfortable. With 4 weeks left until B day, and more time on my hands now I've finished up at work, I thought I would attempt some baking (much easier on my tummy than dealing with raw meats!).

I love most of Donna Hay's recipes and her simple chocolate brownie is no exception, it's probably one my favourite recipes. It only takes about an hour to make (not including cooling time) and can be frozen so you don't have to scoff the entire tray in one hit, unless you want to. This is the first time I've ever frozen brownies but I want to have a few treats at the ready for when family and friends come by to meet our newest addition in a few weeks. 

What you will need:
  • 200g dark chocolate, chopped 
  • 250g butter, chopped
  • 1¾ cups (310g) brown sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • ⅓ cup (35g) cocoa powder, sifted
  • 1¼ cups (185g) plain (all-purpose) flour
  • ¼ teaspoon baking powder

Preheat oven to 160°C (325ºF). Place the chocolate and butter in a saucepan over low heat. 

Stir until smooth and allow to cool slightly.

Place the sugar, eggs, cocoa, flour and baking powder in a bowl

Add the chocolate mixture.

Mix until combined.

Pour into a  lined 20cm-square slice tin 

Bake for 50 minutes or until an inserted skewer withdraws clean (mine didn't take this long so be sure to check it regularly. Mine took about 35 minutes. It it will depend on your oven).

Allow to cool slightly in the tin before slicing

Serve warm or cold. How many pieces you get will depend on how big or small you cut them. This time around I did them small so they are bit size treats for visitors. 

Can be served with ice cream and raspberry sauce for a yummy dessert, or sprinkle over some icing sugar for a delicious afternoon snack.

To freeze them, once they were cool cut them into desired size pieces, wrapped them twice in cling wrap and once in foil, put them in a sealable container and popped them in the freezer. They will last for up to 3 months in the freezer. 

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Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Julia Child's Beef Bourguignon

When I saw the movie Julie and Julia and instantly went out and purchased Julie Child's "Mastering the Art of French Cooking" thinking that I would make all the recipes and have a great time with them, just like in the movie. Boy, was I wrong. There are about a million recipes in the two volume set and some of them are just plain disgusting (terrine anyone?). But one recipe I had to try was the famous Julia Child's Beef Bourguignon. If you want a quick recipe this is not it, nor is it a recipe to make during the week unless you have the entire day off or don't work. 

There are three "stages" in the recipe. I started with the "extras" - the sautéed mushrooms and braised onions. You can make both of these in the 3 hours you have when the beef is cooking in the oven. To get them out of the way, I did the first and then set the aside. 

Stage One: Sautéed Mushrooms (simplified) 
What you will need:
225g Mushrooms, left whole if small or halved/quartered if large (I sliced mine, I prefer it)
1 Tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive OIl
2 Tablespoons Butter

What to do:
Heat the oil and butter in a large saucepan. Add the mushrooms. 

Cook until lightly browned. 

Take off the heat and set aside. If you have the recipe book the above recipe is located on page 513. 

Stage Two: Braised Onions 
What you will need: 
18-24 White Onions, peeled
1 1/2 Tablespoons Butter
1 1/2 Tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/2 Cup Beef Stock 
A Herb Bouquet - e.g. parsley sprigs, bay leaf, thyme

What to do: 
Heat the butter and oil together in a saucepan. Add the onions and stir around to coat all ides of the onions. 

Cook for about 10 minutes or until the onions start to brown. Ensure that you stir them around the saucepan regularly to avoid browning in one spot. 

Add the beef stock and herb bouquet. Cover and simmer slowly for 40-50 minutes until the onions are tender. 

Set aside until needed.  If you have the recipe book the above recipe is located on page 483.

Stage Three: Beef Bourguignon
What you will need: 
170g Chunk of bacon (for this recipe I used regular bacon) 
1 Tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive OIl 
1.3kg Chuck/Stewing Steak, cut into 2" chunks 
1 Carrot, sliced
1 Onion, sliced
2 Tablespoons Plain Flour 
3 Cups Red Wine 
3 Cups Beef Stock 
1 Tablespoon Tomato Paste
2 Garlic Cloves, crushed
1/2 teaspoon Thyme
1 Bay Leaf, crumpled

What to do: 

Remove the rind from the bacon and cut bacon into chunks. Simmer the rind and bacon in water for 10 minutes. 

Drain the bacon and rind and dry with paper towelling. 

Preheat the oven to 232Deg C. Saute the bacon in the oil for 2-3 minutes or until moderately browned. Remove bacon with a slotted spoon and set aside. 

Dry the beef chunks with paper towelling. In the same fat that cooked the fat, brown the beef in batches. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside with the bacon. 

Cook the onion and carrot in the same fat until browned. 

Return the bacon and beef to the casserole dish. 

Sprinkle over salt, pepper and the flour and toss to coat. Cook in the 

Cook the beef in the oven for 4 minutes, uncovered. Toss the beef and return to the oven uncovered for another 4 minutes. Remove the casserole dish from the oven Reduce the oven heat to 160Deg C. 

Return the casserole dish to the stove top on moderate heat. Add the wine, stock, tomato paste, garlic, bay leaf, herbs and bacon rind to the dish. Allow to simmer on the stove for a few minutes. 

Return to the oven, covered, and allow to cook for at least 3 hours. Stir occasionally. The meat is done when a fork slices through it easily and the liquid will have reduced drastically. 

Once the meat is cooked, pour the contents through a sieve over a saucepan. 

Return the beef casserole to the casserole dish. 

Distribute the cooked onions and mushrooms over the meat. 

Heat the saucepan of sauce over moderate heat and skim the fat off the sauce as it rises to the surface. Allow the sauce to thicken until it coats the back of a wooden spoon. 

Pour the sauce over the meat. 

To serve immediately: Simmer the casserole of moderate heat for 2-3 minutes. 

Serve with your choice of vegies and potatoes. 

To serve later: When cold, cover and refridgerate. About 15-20 minutes before serving, bring the casserole to  simmer on the stovetop, covered. Simmer for about 10 minutes, occasionally stirring. Serve with your choice of vegies and potatoes. 

If you have the recipe book the above recipe is located on page 315-317

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