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 ūüôā

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!

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Baked Ham & Potato Salad

Oh yes I did crank up Lee Kernaghan’s Driving Home for Christmas CD & bopped along to ‘Santa Claus is back in Town’ & ‘Cunnamulla Santa’ whilst getting my festive groovy on in the kitchen cooking up the classic Aussie glazed ham with an oh so creamy tattie salad.

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Christmas cooking simply makes me burst with joy & happiness. It’s my favourite time of the year & I do overly spoil my fam-bam with culinary treats all home-made with love.

For this fabuliciouzly sticky ham start by bunging into a saucepan 1 cup of plum jam along with 1/2 cup apple juice, 1/4 cup of firmly packed brown sugar & 1 tablespoon of Dijon mustard to combine. Pop it on the stove top to simmer for about 10 minutes or so until it’s a beautifully shiny glaze that’s slightly thickened.

Next, cut the rind off a leg ham carefully to leave the luscious fat layer behind. Gently score the fat with a sharp knife into a diamond diagonal pattern. Make sure to not cut all the way through to the meat though!

Pop the ham into a baking dish & smother it in half of the glaze, reserving the rest for basting. Whack the ham into a 160c oven for 2 hours remembering to baste every 30 minutes with some of the reserved glaze (that means to go steady on the festive cheer whilst still cooking!). Basting just means spoon over some of the glaze to keep the ham juicy.

For the creamy Tattie Salad simply boil 7-8 white skinned spuds with their jackets on in boiling salted water until just tender. Whilst they cool, hard boil yourself 4 eggs & fry off 6 rashers of diced up bacon. Set all aside once done to crack on with the sauce.

For the creamy sauce, which is the star of this salad, grab a mixing bowl & bung in 8 generous tablespoons of whole egg mayonnaise, 1 teaspoon of french mustard, 1 tablespoon of lemon juice then season well with salt & white pepper before giving it all a jolly good stir.

When you’re ready to assemble, grab a pretty serving dish then chop up the tatties into bite sized cubes, 1/4 the hard boiled eggs, scatter the bacon then gently toss in the sauce to smother all those nuggets of loveliness.

It’s Chompin Time!

Mushroom & Asparagus Pasta

There’s not even time to grab plates when this wee salad hits my table!¬†

Hubby & Mini Me are in there with fighting irons (forks) blazing to greedily devour these ever so tantalising morsels.

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As you’ve probably heard from me before, I absolutely can not stand lettuce in a salad! It’s just one of those personal pet hate things that we all have in some way, shape or form. I love warm salads, batting above their average in a fabuliciouz concoction of surprising flavours.

This one combines my fam-bams forever favourite of mushrooms with the gorgeousness of fresh asparagus. Now, hubby was a wee bit reluctant to try asparagus his first time, he wasn’t quite sure what it was, but with a quick explanation of it tastes just like green beans, he popped a bit in his gob & was so pleasantly surprised he actually dug every last one out!

Firstly, melt a wee bit of butter in your wok (or frypan if you don’t have the single most bestest kitchen implement ever invented!) & toss through 200g of sliced mushrooms along with a bunch of asparagus which you’ve ensured to remove the rubber bands & sliced off the woody ends.

Next, throw in a couple of teaspoons of minced garlic & a couple of tablespoons of good old Worcestershire Sauce. Season ever so generously, as always, with salt & pepper.

Finally, whack in your all time favourite cooked fancy snag, it looks amazing if you slice on a Chinese style angle (we love Cheese Kransky in this household) & then bung in 250g of cooked pasta in whatever shape floats your boat.

Such an easy salad to knock together in a flash for all occasions this entertaining season.

Prawn Rice Salad

A fabuliciouz dry salad that your BBQ guests are gonna love this Summer!

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Get a wee taste of South East Asia at your place with this easy peasy rice salad. The trick is to be totally organised as this one comes together in a flash!

Now, you’ll need to either save 1 & 1/2 cups of left over cooked rice from the night before or cook it up specially for this recipe as that’s the secret to making this rice salad a touch of the Orient.

We’re going to have 3 wee groups of ingredients ready for wok action!

Group 1 – in small bowls have 2 teaspoons of minced garlic, 1 finely chopped lemongrass stalk (white part only) & a handful of snow peas.

Group 2 – is your bowl of leftover rice from the day before.

Group 3 – once again grab your small bowls for 2 tablespoons of sweet chilli sauce, 2 tablespoons of fish sauce & the juice of 1 lime.

Right, you’ll need 300g of peeled & deveined raw prawns ready to roll along with a clean bowl to receive them & we’re ready for WOK ON!

Heat a glug of oil in your wok & cook those prawns off until they’re a lovely blushing pink. Remove them from the wok to the waiting clean bowl.

Heat another glug of oil & bung in Group 1 to cook until they’re nice & soft. Tanz Tip- put the lemongrass in first to give it a wee bit extra time.

Next, in goes Group 2, get all that rice coated in the oil & separated on the grains.

Finally, whack in Group 3 along with the prawns & stir quickly to heat it all up & mix it all through.

Throw it into a pretty serving bowl & get set for the praise oh kitchen goddesses!

Cajun Fish Salad

This one is so light & reminiscent of warmer days.

Sweet succulent fish, juicy watermelon, creamy haloumi & crispy mint!

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Start off with a bowl to mix together thoroughly 2 tablespoons of rich brown sugar along with 1/2 teaspoon each of cayenne pepper, cumin, paprika & mustard powder before seasoning generously with salt & white pepper.

Heat a good glug of oil in a frypan.

Coat some firm flesh fish fillets, I’ve used Basa, in the spiced sugar before frying them off on each side in the hot oil until cooked. Set those aside to drain on a cooling wire over baking tray.

Meanwhile, slice up a 200g block of haloumi cheese, brush with a wee bit of oil & whack them straight onto a hot griddle pan. Cook on both sides until they’re lovely & golden. Remove those to the cooling wire as well & drizzle them with the juice of a freshly cut lemon (straight off our luscious tree!)

Grab yourself a small saucepan & bung in just a smidgeon of oil in the bottom to get nice & hot. Now, don’t freak out at what I’m going to tell you to do next. Pop some fresh mint leaves into the hot oil. They will cook very quickly so be ready to pull them out when nice & crispy to toss onto your cooling wire as well.

Have some juicy watermelon already cut into wedges scattered onto a serving platter, then crumble over the cooked haloumi cheese before gently placing your fish fillets on top & crowning with the crispy mint leaves.

Pilaf

Food Trivia – The only continent on planet Earth where rice is not grown is Antartica.

Rice is such a fabuliciouzly versatile & quickie ingredient to keep in my post ballet easy meal plan¬†arsenal! Here’s a wee¬†spesh number for those days when you just don’t have the time for the kitchen.

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Start off by popping 4 eggs into a saucepan of boiling water to allow them to hard boil. The trick, once they’re done, to avoid that oh so ugly grey ring around the yolk is to take the pan immediately to the sink & run cold water into it. Let that cold water just run on a steady, low flow for some time, until all the water (that was boiling) is now cold & the eggs are cold to the touch also. Turn off the running water & just leave them sit until you’re ready.

Meanwhile, have a pot of water coming to the boil, add salt & cook off 500g of rice before draining & setting aside.

Heat up a good glug of oil in a frypan & cook off 500g of mince (any type that floats your boat, I use pork) & then add in a solid amount of mixed frozen veggies (about a cup or so will be plenty). Grab your favourite curry paste (I use a Madras one from India) & scoop 2 tablespoons into the frypan along with 150ml of water. Give it all a jolly good stir & cook off for about 5 minutes or so.

Add in the cooked rice to the mince mixture & stir it through really well to combine nicely. Season generously with salt & pepper.

Peel those hard boiled eggs, cut them in half & plop them right on top of your dished up Pilaf remembering to salt them too.

It’s Chompin Time!

Kebab Noodle Salad

Just perfect for a quick mid-week dinner or to kick start a weekend BBQ!

The fresh citrus flavour is sure to liven up your tastebuds.

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This is yet another fabuliciouzly tasty number from my whip it up quick after ballet arsenal. Before we leave the house, I pop about 8 bamboo skewers into a shallow dish of warm water to soak while we’re out. This saves precious time when we get home as bamboo skewers simply must¬†soak for at least half an hour in warm water before you use them so they don’t catch fire when you’re cooking.

Start by bunging 500g of pork mince into a mixing bowl & season ever so generously with salt, white pepper & curry powder (about a tablespoon will do it but if you like more, go for it!). Get your hands in there & mix it all up really well before rolling into little meatballs.

Next, thread your meatballs onto the soaked bamboo skewers & set aside on a plate while you warm up a griddle pan. If it’s the weekend, have the hubby fire up the alter of burnt offerings (aka BBQ) to chuck these on the barbie ~ fabuliciouz! Cook the kebab skewers off in the hot griddle pan, turning as needed. They’ll probably take about 10 minutes, depending on how big you rolled those balls!

Meanwhile, cook a packet of rice noodles off as per the packet instructions & whack them into a lovely salad bowl.

In a separate small frypan, heat up a solid glug of oil & then fry off a teaspoon of minced garlic along with a finely diced red capsicum. Throw that straight in on top of the noodles before squeezing out the juice of a lime over the lot. Toss the noodle salad to mix all that luscious flavour through before crowning off your creation with the cooked kebabs!

There you have it, super quick, super tasty & super fresh dinner in a flash.

It’s Chompin Time!

Roasted Pumpkin Salad

Confession time – the one & only thing I’m extraordinarily fussy about is salad!

For me, it must feature warmth & banish lettuce!

I have but one exception to this rule with¬†Caesar, but that’s not today’s story!

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For this wee beauty you’ll first need to peel & roughly chop up half a butternut pumpkin into bite sized cubes. Throw those into a baking tray & toss to coat them in a generous amount of cumin & paprika. Drizzle with oil & whack in a 180c oven for 1 & 1/2 hours to roast & caramelise.

Next, break up half a cauliflower & bung in your steamer to soften nicely.

Grab out a large frypan & heat up a glug of oil. Fry off a teaspoon of minced garlic whilst wilting some spinach leaves & throw in some sliced up sundried tomatoes. Add in the roasted pumpkin & steamed cauliflower, toss through before finally crumbling over a 200g block of feta cheese.

Now that’s a salad!

Cucumber Salad

This fresh summer salad is a classic all across Europe, albeit with regional variations, and can be found on every good cafe’s menu.

It’s quick, it’s easy & it’s fabuliciouz!

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Start by ever so finely slicing 2 continental cucumbers, a mandolin slicer makes this job so much easier! Generously salt them, then get your hands in there for a jolly good mix up! Set that aside for about half an hour.

When you come back to the cucumbers, the salt should of done it’s job in drawing a lot of the water out. This is when you need to grab dirty big handfuls & squeeze to wring them out completely.

Pop all that squeezed cucumber slices into a fresh bowl before adding in 3 teaspoons of minced garlic & just a splash of white vinegar. Mix that lot up thoroughly then simply taste it. You may find you need to adjust either the garlic or the vinegar to get the balance just right as every cucumber has a different amount of liquid in it so it pays to check before whacking this wee winner of a salad down in front of your guests.