Sunday, February 11, 2018

Creamy tarragon chicken with apples

A huge hit with the whole family - they finished every last drop. And I can't blame them, the sauce was really wonderful. Next time, I plan to add a little bit of chili (at the same time as the garlic) to amp up the heat, but it was great just like this too.

Creamy tarragon chicken with apples
Serves 4

400 g boneless chicken thighs, cut into smaller pieces
1 yellow onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp butter
1/2 tbsp dried tarragon
2 red apples, cored and cut into small wedges (no need to peel them)
500 ml water
1 chicken stock cube (or 1 tbsp concentrated chicken stock)
200 ml cream
1 tbsp corn starch, plus water
zest from 1 lemon
salt, pepper

Start by melting the butter in a big pot. Fry the onion and garlic for a few minutes on medium heat. Add apples, tarragon and chicken. Season with salt and pepper. Fry for a little bit and add the water and chicken stock. Cook for about 15 minutes, the chicken should be well cooked through at this point.

Add the cream, and cook for a few minutes longer. Stir together corn starch with water to make a slurry, and add this into your sauce (which should look quite thin and watery, but will thicken up beautifully in a few minutes.) And for the final touch, add lemon zest and see if you want any more salt or pepper.

Serve with rice.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Magically crispy chicken

Best oven-baked chicken we've ever tried! I know it seems like unnecessary work, toasting the panko, but it's worth it. I promise.

My kids love this.

Magically crispy chicken
700 g boneless chicken thighs, in smaller pieces
(Chicken breasts works well too)

1 egg yolk
3 tbsp mayonnaise
1 tbsp dijon mustard
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper

500 ml panko (japanese breadcrumbs)
3 tbsp olive oil

Whisk together the egg yolk, mayo, dijon mustard, salt and pepper. Add the chicken to this. Make sure it's evenly coated.

In a large pan, heat the oil. When it's hot, add the panko and toast it until evenly lightly golden brown. Let it cool for a few minutes.

Then, coat the chicken in panko - take one piece at a time, and turn it so that it's well coated all around. Set it on a wire rack over a deep rimmed oven sheet (ideally lined with foil for easy clean up). When all your chicken is coated and positioned on the rack, bake them at 200°C for about 20-25 minutes. They should be golden brown, and cooked through - check to make sure.

Monday, January 08, 2018

White chocolate chunk macadamia cookies

These cookies are very, very close to the ones served by a certain fast-food restaurant - Subway. They are crispy at the edges and soft and chewy in the middle. Just make sure you don't over-bake them. 

White Chocolate Chunk Macadamia Cookies
Makes 24 medium cookies 

125 g butter, softened
110 g white sugar 
110 g brown sugar 
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
210 g flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda 
100 g white chocolate, cut into chunks 
70 g macadamia nuts (unsalted!), halved 

Cream the butter with both types of sugar until very  soft and fluffy. I use my Kitchen-aid but handheld beaters will work too. Add the egg and beat well. And the vanilla, too. 
Next, add salt, baking powder and baking soda, and the flour. Mix to incorporate. 
Finally add chocolate and macadamias, and mix briefly. 

Shape about 24 balls and place well spaced on lined cookie sheets. The cookies will spread a fair amount so don’t place them too closely. 

Bake at 175° C for about ten minutes. The cookies should be slightly brown at the edges. Let them cool on the baking sheets, before you move them. 

Saturday, January 06, 2018

Parmesan dip

This goes really well with warm potato chips! Yes - warm! Get the kettle-fried chips, and heat them for just a minute or two in a hot oven. Makes a huge difference! 

And make the dip an hour or so in advance. (Or more) 

Parmesan dip
200 ml creme fraiche
100 ml parmesan, finely grated
Garlic powder
Onion powder
Chili powder
Black pepper

Stir together creme fraiche and the parmesan. Add a small pinch of each spice and stir well. Taste, and keep going until it’s the way you want it. Remember to not use too much salt since your chips will be salty as well. 

Thursday, January 04, 2018

Chinese take-out Beef in Crock-Pot

I’m always looking for new meals to try in my crockpot. I am often way to tired and stressed to cook in the afternoon anymore so just throwing stuff in a pot in the morning ia pretty irresistible. This was a huge success. Both kids and husband loves it. I thought it was a little boring to tell you the truth but I’ll add more spices next time. Maybe some chili flakes. I’ll also cut down the sugar, which is a little much.

I started out with a recipe for “Mongolian beef” whatever that is. However, the end result is very near to what I frequently ate as a kid, Chinese take-out food with beef and mushrooms. (Not that there are any mushrooms  in this dish - but feel free to add them. My kids wouldn’t eat that.)

Serve with whatever vegetables you like. I had some green beans slowly dying of freezer burn that I rescued along with some broccoli, the kids had baby corn. 

Chinese take-out Beef in Crock-Pot

Serves 6 

600 g flank steak, cut across the grain into thin strips 
Corn starch
1 tbsp olive oil
2 large carrots, julienned (or just grated)
1 red onion, thinly sliced 
3 garlic cloves, minced
100 g brown sugar 
100 ml soy sauce 
300 ml water (plus more) 
Vegeta or other all-purpose spice mix, stock powder would work too

Put some corn starch in a plastic bag. I didn’t measure, but about a good handful. The goal is to cover the meat so add your strips of beef and make sure that they are well coated.

My crockpot has a sauté setting so I began by frying the carrots, onions and garlic in the oil. Skip this if your pot can’t do it. Just add the ingredients instead. 

Add sugar, aoy and water and stir. Add the beef, but shake off any excess corn starch as you go. Stir to cover with the sauce. Add Vegeta or other spices. 

Cook on low for 6 hours or so. My meat was super tender by then and it might have been fine a lot earlier but longer wouldn’t hurt either. 

Check for texture. I added quite a bit of water, at several times. The corn starch really does make the sauce thick. 

Serve with rice and vegetables.