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Showing posts from July, 2020

Smokey Seafood Chowder

I have, rather unfortunately, only lived in places with average weather. I'm used to quite a bit of snow, rain and cold in my days so naturally it's important that I have a few good go-to recipes that warm you right to the bones.  This can easily be fancied up a bit for entertaining if you buy a more expensive fish and add a little saffron but I am a fan of the humble version. Don't be shy to try it with different kinds of trout or white fillets and bacon / thick pancetta instead of ham. I make this in the slow cooker but you could just as easily use  Gather the Good Stuff 400g or so of small potatoes - halved or quartered depending on size.  250g - whitefish or trout. Sole works well 250g of smoked whitefish   100g chopped bacon / ham / pancetta  2 tbsp butter  1 onion - diced  2 celery sticks - diced  50g corn nibbles  3 cups vegetable or fish broth  2/3 cup dry white wine   2/3 cup heavy cream 1 tsp dried tarragon  1 tsp white wine vinegar  Salt and pepper to taste  Putt

Hot & Sticky Chicken Pops

These are just great. If you've got pickier kids then you can dial up the honey and dial down the hot and they'll love them. For adults, do the opposite. I like to serve this type of stuff as a heavy snack or during a chaotic dinner where you've got lots of folks coming and going. Obviously, these are open to be dressed up any way you like or even just straight roasted / fried for the crispy angle.  Popping the knuckle off of drumsticks is a great trick. It not only makes a nice little handle, it's also visually appealing. Lastly, it severs the little tendons that run up and down chicken thighs that aren't the most pleasant when eating. This is a good technique to get used to using in many different chicken dishes. I believe it is called "Frenched chicken". Gather the Good Stuff  1. Chicken Drumstick - 6-8 or what ever will fit comfortably in your roasting pan 2. 1 Tbsp - rice wine vinegar    3. 1 Tbsp honey - use good stuff  4. 1-3 Tbsp Sriracha 5. Salt &

Cabbage Rolls

These are a great meal for a cold night. They take a bit of work and they are a hard sell for kids but they are really satisfying and kids don't know anything anyway. I like to get my aromatics going in a bit of bacon grease to add another flavour into the mix of the sauce. I also like to garnish with a little feta cheese both for the saltiness and the colour. In the pic above I may have gone a little cabbage crazy as there is shredded cabbage in the salad as well. The reason for this is that as you get going here, you'll quickly realize that a full head of cabbage is quite a bit, so you'll need a backup plan for the leftover.   Gather the Good Stuff 1 head of cabbage - immediate outer layers removed  500g ground pork  3-4 strips of bacon - diced into small pieces  1 egg  2 x 400g cans crushed tomatoes 1 each - carrot, celery stick, onion - diced  3 green onions - diced  Garlic to taste - 2 - 3 cloves  1/2 - 1 tsp nutmeg  1 cup chicken stock  100-200g Feta cheese 1 cup cook

Crispy Wings from the Oven

I have absolutely nothing against deep frying. Big fan. But I am sympathetic to the reasons why you may not want to use that method all the time. Whether it be for health, clean-up, or general safety. At the same time I think we can all appreciate that deep frying adds a crispiness factor to food that is irresistible. The good news is that when it comes to chicken wings at least, there's a pretty good hack. To that end this isn't a full recipe insomuch as it is a post about a great technique which is using baking powder to crisp up your chicken wings in the oven. Once you've got them up to crispy perfection you can apply any sauce you fancy and take them in a million different directions depending on the occasion or your preference. Last bit here - do not mess up and use baking soda by mistake. That is going to end badly. Gather the Good Stuff 1. Wings - however many you need. This recipe is for about 20 wings. If you are making a lot more, you'll need to increase the d

Shrimp / Fish Cakes with Thai Sauce

A colleague at work recommended this recipe for fish cakes to me. I hold this particular colleagues opinions about food in quite high regard and she kept it up with this recommendation. Over time I added the shrimp but you could happily use either just fish, or just shrimp. Both will work out just as well. Beyond that you want it to be fresh, the specific type of whitefish isn’t super important either. I use Tarakihi because it is widely available in New Zealand. The key to making these work is to control the level of moisture, being careful that whatever you add doesn’t make it excessively wet. That also goes for your shrimp which you want to be well strained and patted down before you add them. You can easily put these together and on the table in 20 minutes.  Gather the Good Stuff For the Cakes  400g Fish / Shrimp - any combination of both. The shrimp need to be de-veined and fully peeled and both need to be well patted dry.  75g - breadcrumbs  1 tsp sesame oil  2 tbsp red curry pas

Butterbean Chicken Traybake

The beauty of a chicken traybake is in the versatility. You can substitute the veggies and spices to basically whatever you like and still end up with a really satisfying meal. One of my favourite combinations is to use carrots, spinach and butterbeans.  It uses a chorizo / paprika mix as it's base but you'll do just as well here if you vary that up and try other combinations.  Gather the Good Stuff: Chicken - Basically however much you need to feed your guests / family but please, use thighs and legs. If you use breasts, they almost certainly will get dried out and tough. Pat them dry with the skin on and apply a generous dose of salt & pepper. Allow to sit for 10-15 minutes before you start cooking   4-5 carrots - peeled and cut into bite size rounds  2 x 400g cans of butterbeans - rinsed  300g spinach - washed and shredded  1 or 2 chorizo sausages - diced into small chunks 1 large onion or 1 leek 2 tsp smoked paprika  2-3 cloves garlic  300ml chicken broth  1/2 cup white

Feta & Lamb Meatballs

Lamb is a polarizing protein. Quite a few people find the taste a little too strong and they shy away from it. I on the other hand just love it. If you're a fan of lamb flavour you'll enjoy this dish because the lamb is the main taste that comes through once it's all done. I've added in cannellini beans to make it a true one pot meal. Even with the beans, it's great spread out on a slice of crusty toasted bread.  Gather the Good Stuff 500g minced lamb  1 package of feta cheese  1 large eggplant  1 large onion 2-4 cloves of garlic , diced  1 400g can of canellini beans  1 400g can of diced tomatoes  1 egg  75-100g panko breadcrumbs 1 tsp cumin  1 tsp coriander  1 tsp oregano  1/2 cup wine or other deglazing liquid - I use red wine or chicken broth 1/2 cup chicken broth      Putting it Together  Pre-heat oven to 180C  Heat 2 - 3 Tbsp olive or vegetable oil in a heavy pan over medium heat in an oven proof skillet  Slice the onion and cube the eggplant  When the oil is

Leftovers Garlic & Bacon Spaghetti

You can make a really great weeknight meal with very few ingredients. What is nice about this kind of dish is that it can be made in about 15-20 minutes and it will appeal to just about everybody.  I make mine with bacon as I always find that I buy a pack of bacon and only have need for half of it. On that note, substitute in any meat you have leftover here and it will work just fine.  Gather the Good Stuff Enough spaghetti for 2-4 people  1/2 cup olive oil  1 cup bread crumbs - I used panko here but any will do  6-8 cloves of garlic - sliced 6 strips of bacon - or any other protein you have leftover  3/4 cup - Parmesan cheese - shredded   Salt & Pepper - to taste  Putting it all Together  Heat oven to 200C and spread breadcrumbs out onto pan for toasting  Dice bacon into small portions - ditto if you are using another protein  Add to a cold pan and turn heat to medium. Cook until bacon releases it's fat and is golden and crispy  Meanwhile put your breadcrumb pan into the hot o

Yorkshire Puddings

How many recipes online start with the line "my mother used to make these?" Unfortunately this one is going to as well. When we had a holiday meal at my house growing up my brother and I have literally come to blows over these delicious little puddings. We are grown men now and I'd like to believe we are beyond that but I might still consider throwing down with him if I felt that he was getting more than his fair share of these. Not terribly proud of that, but it is probably true.  If you are making any kind of roast meat that is going to include a gravy, these are just a brilliant addition to the meal. They go wonderfully with roast beef, roast pork, roast chicken or turkey and the list goes on. They are relatively straight forward to make but you do need a very hot oven so time that into your planning  as you are getting your meal prepped out.  Gather the Good Stuff 200ml / 140g plain flour  4 eggs 200ml 2% milk Sunflower or peanut oil Salt and pepper  Putting it Togeth

Thai Basil Chicken

If you don't mind getting real personal with some chicken thighs then this dish is going to be a great addition to your easy weeknight options. It does require heavy dicing and you could just use pre-ground chicken but I really think that if you give the dicing of some fresh thighs a try yourself, you may not go back. Beyond the chicken the other key to success here is the quantity of basil you use. Use fresh basil and do not get shy, seriously load this up with what should look like a hilariously large amount. Don't fight it, go for it.  Gather the Good Stuff     500g   Chicken thighs    Bone / skin removed / well chopped    1-2 cups       Fresh basil leaves          roughly chopped   1-2            Thai red chilis        minced - you can substitute other chilies if needed such as Serrano  2                        Shallots  diced - you can use yellow onions if needed   1 Tbsp   Oyster sauce    1 Tbsp   Soy sauce  Preferably dark   2 tsp   Fish sauce   start light and add more

Red Beans & Ham Hock

Here is a dish that will warm you right to the core. Everything that you add to this disintegrates nicely into a tasty concoction that is hard to resist. I make it in the slow-cooker overnight so we can enjoy it several times the next day.  If you find yourself in the southern USA this dish is quite popular and has endless variations on the basic theme of ham hock, sausage and red beans. If you are going for super traditional you will likely find this served under a scoop of rice and it is wonderful that way. I'm blessed that my wife makes an amazing cornbread which is my preferred vehicle for getting this to my mouth and what I have shown here.  Gather the good stuff: 1 tablespoon vegetable oil 2 or so links of sausage cut into small cubes. traditionally this is made with andouille sausage but a dried chorizo works well also  1 cup diced onion, 1 cup diced celery, 1 green pepper (I used a red one here because the green ones in the store today were terrible. Please, roast me accord