Chicken Mousaka

This traditional layered dish is Greece’s answer to the lasagne & it is every bit as fabuliciouz! 

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This is a really easy dinner to prepare, it’s all about stages so just run with me here guys.

First, peel & slice an eggplant into thin rounds before placing on a tray & giving a liberal layer of salt. Set those aside for 15 minutes. The salt will draw out all the bitterness from the eggplant so you will notice them sweat. When time is up, simply dry them off with a paper towel & pan fry those babies.

Next, bung into a large mixing bowl 500g of chicken mince, 1 teaspoon of ground nutmeg, 2 teaspoons of dijon mustard, 2 well beaten eggs then season ever so generously with salt, white pepper & dried oregano. Get you best kitchen utensils, aka your hands, in there to give it a jolly mix through before setting aside as well.

Finally, it’s a simple cheese sauce to knock together. In a saucepan, over the lowest heat setting possible, melt 2 tablespoons of butter then remove from the heat to add in 2 tablespoons of plain flour & 1 teaspoon of salt. Mix it together before returning to the lowest heat to cook off that flour, keep stirring it the whole time though. When you’re happy that the flour has been cooked off, basically the clumpy mess has turned nice & smooth again, start adding in ever so slowly 2 & 1/2 cups of milk. The trick to this is slow & steady wins the race – be the tortoise! Never stop stirring it so you avoid those icky lumps. Once all the milk is in, throw in a couple of cups worth of grated cheddar cheese. Crank that heat up to a steady medium to melt it in & slightly thicken the sauce.

Now it’s assembly time!

Into your oven proof dish goes half that fabuliciouz cheese sauce, then a layer of half of the pan fried eggplant rounds followed by the entire amount of seasoned chicken mince, top that with the rest of the eggplant rounds & then pour over the remainder cheese sauce. Crown your creation eloquently with yet more grated cheddar cheese & some grated parmesan just for good measure before whacking into a 180c oven for 45 minutes!

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Perfect Pork Crackling

It’s the holy grail of roasting, how to get that perfectly crunchy pork crackling!

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With just these few simple tips, you too will create the most fabuliciouz Pork Crackling in your very own kitchen to impress your friends. Just imagine the glory, Chef, when you whack down these beauties in a bowl instead of packet crisps to enjoy with drinks!

First of all you need to dry your pork skin, that’s just an easy dab over with some paper towel.

Next, pop it onto your baking tray & just give it a sweet kiss of oil, I’m talking just a wee sheen on there, so it’s just enough to stick the salt too.

Then, use a good quality salt. I use a Himalayan Pink Rock Salt to grind over. Make sure you cover all of that luscious skin now!

Finally, bung it in a 220c oven for half an hour. When it comes out simply let it cool & snap away with either your hands or a knife to break into bite sized chips of porky goodness.

Spiced BBQ Chicken Thighs

This amazing marinade brings a fabuliciouz taste of the Orient into your backyard barbie!

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 This is a super quick & easy marinade that is sure to spice up your next BBQ! Team it with chicken, pork, lamb or fish for something a wee bit different to the standard snags & burgers.

Grab yourself a mixing bowl & bung in 1 cup of plain yoghurt, 3 tablespoons of your favourite curry paste (I use Paeneng), 2 tablespoons of garam masala, 2 teaspoons of salt, the juice of 2 limes & 1 teaspoon of raw sugar. Give that lot a jolly good mix then whack in your meat to coat & pop in fridge to marinade for about an hour (remember that the lime juice is going to start the cooking process so you don’t want to leave it too long).

Hand them over to the man at the alter of burnt offerings (aka BBQ) to cook on a medium heat with some tender flame kisses.

Sushi Rolls

They’re quick, they’re healthy & they’re fabuliciouz!

Whipping up this Food Court favourite at home is easier than you may think!

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Start with the rice – you’ll need to bung 1 cup of cooked rice into a nice shallow bowl before popping over 3 tablespoons of Sushi Seasoning, you can find this in the Asian section of your local supermarket these days! Use a wooden spoon to gently fold the seasoning through the rice before allowing it to cool to room temperature. This sushi seasoning is the secret ingredient! You know how when you buy these rolls at the shops there’s always that certain special taste that you can’t quite put your finger on???? Well this is it! It also gives the rice that absolutely essential sticky consistency too.

Next, you’ll need a bamboo sushi mat, also readily available in the Asian aisle of supermarkets these days.

Lay your bamboo sushi mat flat on your bench before taking out a sheet of Nori Seaweed (how good is it now that we can get all these wonderfully exotic ingredients so easily?!?!). Lay the Nori sheet with the shiny smooth side down against the matt as this will be your outer presentation side so you want the rough, dull bit on the inside.

Spread the sticky rice in a layer all over the Nori sheet but make sure you leave a 2cm gap at the end furthest from you.

Next comes your fillings! This is where you can let your imagination run wild or simply take inspiration from the menu at your local take out.

In a narrow strip, closest to you, start layering. Just use a couple of ingredients, as the Japanese do, which work really well together. In the picture I have used curried egg & chicken, but also think about avocado, cucumber, tuna, wasabi, ginger, duck – all the classics!

Then you need to use the bamboo mat to lift the fillings end, which is the closest to you, up & over ensuring a nice tight roll. Wet your fingers to moisten the 2cm strip you’ve left at the far end of the nori seaweed & lift up & over again with the mat to seal your roll. Squeeze to ensure a nice tight roll that won’t fall apart.

Remove the roll from the mat by simply opening the bamboo mat up again before transferring the roll onto a cutting board. Finally, because the rice is so sticky, you will need to wet a very sharp knife to slice the roll into bite sized pieces.

It’s Chompin Time!

Curried Egg Filling

Aussies of my generation will well remember the good old Curried Egg Sanga in the school lunchbox!

Nostalgic love or Dear Lord let it go?!

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Nothing could be simpler than this classic filling! Use it in sandwiches, rolls, wraps or even sushi!

Use a fork to smash up a hard boiled egg before adding in a tablespoon of whole egg mayonnaise, a teaspoon of curry powder (naturally, I use the good old Keens!) then season well with salt & pepper.

Mix it all together & voila! You’re ready to spread!

I’d love to hear your memories on this one in the comments below!