BBQ Polenta Wedges

Fabuliciouzly Creamy & Cheesy surprise parcels to plop on the table at your next backyard gathering, then get ready for the WOW’s chef!

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Hubby was more than a wee bit sceptical when I slipped these beauties under his nose to whack on the alter of burnt offerings (aka BBQ) but he was absolutely blown away when he tasted them & kept going back for more!

Start by bringing a litre of chicken stock to the boil before slowly pouring in 1 cup of instant polenta in a steady stream, whisking well. Keep whisking until it gets nice & thick, coming away from the sides of the pan – about 5 minutes or so.

Remove from the heat & bung in 1 tablespoon of butter, 1/2 cup of grated parmesan cheese & a generous amount of chopped fresh basil (about a couple of tablespoons worth should do the trick). Whisk it well to combine then season with salt & white pepper.

Pour that lot into a very well greased cake tin (I use a square one but there’s no reason you can’t use another shape, whatever floats your boat really) then pop in the fridge for a few hours to set (it needs to be completely cooled the whole way through).

When you’re ready to eat, simply turn it out of the tin onto a board, slice it into wedges, brush both sides with a wee bit of oil & whack on the hot BBQ to get gorgeously golden on each side (say around 2-3 minutes each side).

Thai Prawn Curry

A fabuliciouzly flavour packed curry that can be on the table in half an hour!

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This is going straight into my post ballet quickie file! Juicy prawns, fresh veggies & wonderfully fragrant coconut curry soup – what’s not to love?!?!?!

Start by trimming the ends off a solid handful of green beans before chopping them in half & popping into a bowl. Then slice off two sides of a red capsicum to dice up & whack that on top of the beans. Next, drain a 400g tin of corn kernels, giving them a good wash & rinse & setting those aside separately.

Bung a good splash of peanut oil into a wok (or fry pan if you don’t have one) to heat before throwing in the beans & capsicum along with 2 tablespoons of Thai red curry paste. Cook those for 3-5 minutes on a medium heat keeping it all moving.

Add in the drained corn & a 400ml tin of coconut milk then reduce the heat to simmer away for another 5 minutes.

Chuck in 500g of raw green prawns (peeled & cleaned – no poo tubes please!) & stir until the prawns have turned a blushing pink to indicate they’re cooked through.

Finally, freshen it all up with the juice & zest of 2 limes & season with 2 teaspoons of fish sauce.

Ladle over bowls with prepared rice noodles already in them.

It’s Chompin Time!

 

Basic Macaroons

They’re a fancy bakery favourite but you’ll be really surprised how easy you can make these slightly chewy, crispy crusted delicate biscuits at home.

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The first trick to get all of your macaroons at the same size is to grab some sort of round object that’s about 4cm in diameter. I ‘borrow’ one of Mini-Me’s toy’s, a layer of a wooden ice-cream from her timber high tea set but ssshhhhhhh don’t tell her! Then trace circles onto baking paper leaving about a 2cm gap between each one. Spray some oil on a couple of baking trays to help the baking paper stick without moving & set those prepared trays aside for later.

Next, we’re going to beat 3 egg whites in a mixer until soft peaks form before adding in 2 tablespoons of caster sugar along with whatever food colour floats your boat & beat that until the sugar dissolves, that means you can’t feel any grains of sugar between your fingers anymore.

Then, simply fold through 1 & 1/4 cups of sifted icing sugar with 1 cup of almond meal gently in two separate batches, being extra careful not to knock out all that lovely air you’ve worked so hard to beat in there!

Scoop that luscious mix into a piping bag fitted with just a plain nozzle & fill in the circles drawn on your trays. The next trick to an awesome macaroon is to gently tap the trays on the bench to spread them slightly before dusting with some more icing sugar & then leave them sit there for 15 minutes – this is what allows that signature crunchy crust to form in the air drying!

Whack those in a 150c oven for 20 minutes after which allow them to stand for an extra 5 minutes before very carefully peeling them from the paper & bunging them onto a cooling wire.

Meanwhile whip up a standard chocolate ganache by simply popping 100g of dark chocolate callets into a bowl & pouring in 2 tablespoons of thickened cream. Sit that over a pan of simmering water, make sure that the water never touches the bottom of the bowl or your chocolate will seize & be useless, then gently stir while it melts. Sit it aside to cool slightly so it thickens up a wee  bit before spooning small amounts onto the bottom of a macaroon & using another one to sandwich on top.

When you serve up these fabuliciouz wee beauties you can stand back & bask in the glory chef!

Lamington Truffles

Happy Australia Day!

Last year, on the Facebook Page, I introduced my new creation of a great Aussie classic with an updated twist. It was so popular that I’m now sharing it onto the website to help you all celebrate our National Day tomorrow.

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Start by crumbling up a sponge cake into a bowl & mixing through 1/2 cup of vanilla frosting (Both can be bought from the shop ready made to save time if that floats your boat).

Pinch off bits of mixture & roll into balls. Pop them on a baking paper lined tray & bung in the freezer for an hour.

Melt some good quality dark chocolate in a bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Once melted, remove from the heat & start rolling your frozen balls in the hot chocolate before then rolling through desiccated coconut on a plate.

Return the balls to the freezer for a few minutes to set the chocolate before devouring greedily this Australia Day.

Polenta Encrusted Lemon Chicken

Sounds a wee bit fancy, yeah?!

Well, far from being tricky to whack down this fabuliciouzly fresh summer taste on your dinner table, you’ll be amazed at just how terribly easy this one is!

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I shall need to add this in to my post ballet quickie repertoire as Mini Me is about to embark on her busiest year to date, having been invited to join a competition troupe which she is extraordinarily excited about! I’m sure I will have plenty of mum brag moments to share ahead 🙂

First, grab yourself half a dozen juicy chicken thighs & bung those into a lightly greased shallow baking tray (the kind you use for slices etc).

Next, combine in a mixing bowl 1/3 cup of polenta with 2 teaspoons of minced garlic, a tablespoon of mixed dried herbs & the finely grated rind of a lemon.

Then, cut the lemon in half & squeeze the juice all around the chicken thighs before pressing the polenta crust on top of them.

Whack that lot into a 180c oven for 25 minutes or until the chook is cooked through.

Serve with either a vegetable noodle stir fry like I’ve whipped up in the photo, or alongside a fresh salad.

That’s Chompin Time in a flash!

Outback Burgers

A flavour packed meat pattie that’s sure to round up your taste buds!

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Not to be outdone in the kitchen, this is a recipe which hubby has come up with all by himself! These would be awesome on the alter of burnt offerings (aka BBQ) but were just as fabuliciouz in our grill pan.

Start by bunging 500g of beef mince along with 500g of pork mince into a large mixing bowl before seasoning generously with salt & white pepper. Next crack in 1 egg, splash in 3 tablespoons of soy sauce, 2 tablespoons of tomato sauce, a handful of whichever type of crumb floats your boat, a handful of grated cheddar cheese & a copious amount of chopped up jalapeño chillies (whatever heat you can handle!). Give that lot a jolly good mix before forming into large balls, about tennis ball size.

Heat up your lightly oiled pan or BBQ, then whack the balls on before flattening with the back of your spatula to form the meat pattie.

Hubby turns these numerous times during cooking to keep them nice & juicy moist!

 

Devilled Eggs Benedict

Devilled Eggs Benedict – need I say more?

This is the perfect little starter with the Summer entertaining season well & truly upon us now.

A wee bit of retro fun but with a modern twist 🙂

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Start by hard boiling 6 eggs & peeling those when cool.

Next, whip up an uber easy Hollandaise sauce! First melt 125g butter in a small saucepan, then, in a separate mixing jug, crack in 3 egg yolks (not your hard boiled ones) along with 2 tablespoons of lemon juice & whip out good old Mr Buzzy (aka stick blender) to whaz that up for 30 seconds before pouring the melted hot butter in a very thin stream whilst constantly blending. Just keep going until you reach that milky residue at the bottom of the pan & tip that out, not in the sauce though! How easy was that?!?!

Grab yourself a nice platter & a mixing bowl. Cut the hard boiled eggs in half, lengthways, then gently remove the yolks with a teaspoon. Bung the yolks in the mixing bowl & arrange the white egg shells on the platter nicely.

Next melt 2 tablespoons of butter gently in a small saucepan over a low heat. Add in 2 teaspoons of the hollandaise sauce, 2 teaspoons of tomato sauce, 2 teaspoons of Worcestershire sauce & 1 teaspoon of mustard powder. Heat that up stirring well to combine.

Meanwhile, mash up the egg yolks with a fork & then pour in the saucy mixture, add in some cayenne pepper to taste then season ever so generously with salt & pepper.

Whack that luscious eggy mess into a piping bag fitted with a star nozzle & pipe them into the white egg shells on the platter. You could just use a teaspoon also to plop it in the holes.

Finally, fry up 1 finely diced rasher of bacon to sprinkle on top of each egg & there you have it! Two awesome retro classics combined into one Fabuliciouz little mouthful.

Roasted Chinese Pork Belly with Creamy Mushroom Risotto

The aromatic headiness of Chinese 5 Spice lifts succulent pork belly into another stratosphere, whilst teaming perfectly with the earthiness of mushrooms.

This is a meeting of cultures not to be missed!

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Let’s start with that oh so drool-able ingredient of pork belly! You want about a 1kg piece with no bone in there. Take it out of it’s packaging & ever so gently give it a pat down with paper towel to dry the skin.

Next, ensure that the skin has already been scored, if not, then just run a sharp knife across the skin to cut deep into the fat but not all the way through to the meat.

Slather your pork with an ever so generous amount of salt & then sprinkle over a teaspoon of Chinese 5 Spice. Give that lot a jolly good rub into that luscious piece of meat. Drizzle over some oil & bung it in a roasting dish.

Whack the pork into a 250c oven for 20 minutes before turning the heat down to 150c for another 10 minutes, then simply drizzle another wee bit of oil over it & roast for another 30 minutes or until it’s cooked through.

Meanwhile, get cracking with that fabuliciouzly creamy mushroom risotto to serve alongside.

Now, the biggest trick to making a great risotto is all about what pan you use! Forget a deep saucepan, what you need is a large flat deep sided frypan! This ensures that all the rice cooks evenly which is the secret to getting that creamy texture.

The first thing to do is to stick 1 litre of chicken stock in a pot on the back burner to gently heat through.

Then you’ll need to heat a blob of butter in your flat frypan to sauté off 250g worth of sliced mushrooms (my fam-bam prefer Swiss Brown) before setting those aside in a bowl.

Heat another 2 tablespoons of butter in the same flat frypan & this time sauté 1 finely diced onion along with 1 teaspoon of minced garlic until they’re nice & soft. Bung in 2 cups of rice (traditionally you’d use Arborio but I use Jasmine) then toss through the butter mix until it’s lovely & translucent.

Next, ever so slowly start adding the warmed chicken stock a ladle at a time, stirring constantly. Just make sure all the liquid is absorbed before adding in the next lot. This takes time so make sure you have a drink handy. Once all the stock is incorporated (takes about 30-40 minutes) throw through 1/2 cup of parmesan cheese, stir well & pop those mushrooms back in. Mix it all thoroughly & serve immediately  with the sliced up pork belly.

Vanilla Glazed Pineapple Cake

A sweet treat from the tropics that any guests for tea would be extremely impressed by & you’ll be amazed at how simple it is to whip up!

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Bung into a mixing bowl 2 cups of self raising flour, 1 cup of raw sugar & a 450g tin of crushed pineapple (including the juice) then give it all a jolly good mix.

Pour the batter into a well greased cake tin & whack in a 180c oven for 40 minutes.

After baking, allow the cake to cool in the tin for about 10 minutes before turning out onto a cooling wire. When completely cold, it’s time to glaze!

Grab a mixing bowl & in goes 2 cups of icing sugar, 3 tablespoons of warm water & a teaspoon of vanilla paste then stir away until it’s nice & smooth.

Pop a baking tray underneath the cooling wire & simply pour the glaze over the cake allowing it to seductively drip down the sides, don’t worry as the tray is there to catch the overspill mess.

Now that is a mighty easy, awesomely fabuliciouz cake to be proud to call homemade!

Chicken Cacciatore

A decadently rich tomato & mushroom based sauce lovingly caressing plump, juicy chicken – it’s a winner!

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I knew I was on a good thing here when Mini-Me kept coming back for seconds, thirds & even fourths! The next day she wanted the leftovers for breakfast! How can I not share this obviously absolutely fabuliciouz new favourite?!?!

Start by heating a good glug of oil in a frypan & simply browning off 4 juicy chicken thighs, you just want to seal them & give them a wee bit of golden colour. Bung them into an oven proof casserole dish & set aside.

If you need to add more oil to the pan, then by all means do, but allow it to heat up again before sliding in 125g of sliced mushrooms (we prefer to use Swiss Browns but Button work just as well if you can’t find them) along with 2 teaspoons of minced garlic. Sauté those off to get them nice & soft, then in goes a tin (400g) of chopped tomatoes, a tub (140g) of tomato paste, 1/2 cup of white wine, 1/2 cup of chicken stock & a teaspoon each of dried mixed herbs & dried oregano. Season ever so generously with salt & pepper, give it a jolly good stir & bring to the boil. Reduce the heat & let it simmer away there for about 10 minutes.

Pour the sauce over the chicken in the casserole dish & whack into a 180c oven for 40 minutes with a lid on before removing the lid & giving it an extra 15 minutes uncovered (just check that the chook is fully cooked through).

Then It’s Chompin Time!