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Monthly Archives: December 2006

Portuguese Chicken Salad

This yummy salad was something I put together this afternoon because I was too lazy to make anything else.

I dare say this salad is a healthier alternative to the chips and ham sangers you are possibly contemplating.

It was fricken delish!

I’ve used yellow plums in the recipe but if you can’t get them, you can also use mango for that beautiful sweetness.

This is a very yummy, dead easy lunch for those lazy days.

Ingredients

1 carrot, cut into matchsticks

1/2 small cucumber, finely diced

1/2 tomato, finely diced

1 yellow plum, sliced thinly

olive oil, to serve

balsamic vinegar or dressing, to serve

1 chicken breast

Portuguese seasoning or spice rub

Method

Rub the Portuguese spice rub or seasoning over the chicken breast, ensuring you coat all of it well.

You can throw the breast on a hot grill, but for those too lazy to get the grill going like me, just put it in a non-stick pan with a smidge of olive oil and cook it over med-high heat until cooked inside and the outsides have a slightly charred appearance.

Wrap the chicken breast in some foil and set aside to rest for a few minutes.

Arrange your carrot matchsticks in the middle of your plate.

After the chicken has rested for a few minutes, slice it thinly against the grain and arrange atop the carrots.

Mix your plums, tomato and cucumbers in a bowl with a drop of olive oil.

Sprinkle your tomato, plums and cucumbers over the chicken and let it tumble down the sides.

Drizzle some olive oil and basalmic vinegar over the plate and gobble it all up!

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Posted by on December 29, 2006 in Luscious Lunches

 

Off for Christmas

Well, it is time for me to get busy with my Christmas preparations and I need to bathe my stinky dog, so I must bid you adieu for a few days while I stuff myself silly with copious amounts of fattening food.

Merry Christmas to you all- I hope your bellies are all full with delicious food and drink and that Santa is especially good to you this year.

Merry Christmas! 

 
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Posted by on December 24, 2006 in General

 

Avocado

Avocado is everywhere nowadays.

I must admit that the first time I tried avocado, it tasted like soap.

I’m still not salivating over the taste of avocado, or it’s lack thereof, but I must admit I’m entranced by it. It must be something about how lovely the green, glossy slivers of the fruit (yes, fruit) look sitting atop a delicious meal. Or the fuzzy, oily warmth I feel as it slides down my throat.

Yes, there’s something about avocados that keeps me interested, so that’s why today we’re going to talk about everything avocado.

Let’s start with the basics. Avocados are the fruit of the avocado trees native to Central America and Mexico.

Now I know you think of avocado and think, “OMG IT’S SO HIGH IN FAT!!”- yes, you’re right. It’s higher in fat than most fruits and vegetables, but it’s mostly monounsaturated fat.

They also have 60% or so more potassium than bananas and are rich in B vitamins, as well as vitamin E, vitamin K, and folate. So they’re fricken good for you, alright?

In the supermarket, you’ll know if an avocado is ripe by gently squeezing the fruit in your hand. I’m not talking death-grip here. Just a gently squeeze. If it’s ripe, it will be a little bit soft.

When you slice one open, the flesh will be a greenish, Exorcist-rotating-head-spew green or a golden yellowish colour.

If you’ve left it out just a little too long, you’ll know about it. The flesh oxidizes and turns brown quickly after exposure to air. To prevent this, lime or lemon juice can be added to avocados after they are peeled.

Avocado is a great healthier alternative to using margarine or butter spreads on sandwiches. Simply mash it up and spread it over the base of your sandwich.

It’s as the base for yummy Mexican guacamole and as the filling for several kinds of sushi, like California rolls.

In Brazil and Vietnam, avocados are frequently used for milk-shakes and occasionally added to ice cream.

In the Philippines and Indonesia, a dessert drink is made with sugar, milk, and pureed avocado.

In Central America, avocados are served mixed with white rice.

The fruit is also pressed for avocado oil production.

In Chile it is often used in hamburgers, hot dogs and celery salads.

It’s a great base for all the yummy salsas that are all the craze at the moment to serve over your chicken or fish. Dice it up finely with tomato, mango, or whatever else strikes your fancy and add some olive oil, seasoning and lime juice and spoon it over delish grilled chicken breasts or fish fillets.

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Posted by on December 24, 2006 in Ingredients 101

 

How to deglaze

 

What is this deglazing crap you always hear these bloody chefs carry on about?

Why make things even more difficult for you by having to get all fancy and ‘deglaze‘ your pan?

Before you panic, it’s not that hard.

In short, deglazing is scraping the shit out of your pan, adding some liquid to it and pouring it over your dinner.

The whole idea is that when you cook something yummy, little bits of food are going to stick to the bottom of the pan and caramelize. These yummy little scraps are actually full of flavour and when you pour your liquid in, like some stock or red wine, these yummy flavour infuse the liquid as you cook it down over a high heat. This is not the part where you walk away and chat on the phone about Laguna Beach or tend to your cuticles. You need to stand there and work at scraping these scraps off with a wooden spoon and stirring as the liquid reduces.

At this point, you can add your seasonings like chopped parsley, salt and pepper, peppercorns, whatever you want.

If you’re happy with the texture the way it is, serve it over your meal, but if you want that perfectly creamy, velvety kinda feel, chuck in a knob of chilled butter once you take the pan off the heat and stir it through as it melts. This will act to thicken the sauce up and give it a lovely, seductive flavour.

When you’re ready to plate up, pour some of your yummy sauce over the meal and be satisfied in the knowledge that nothing got wasted! Woohoo!

Oh and the best bit? You don’t have to stand at the sink scrubbing like a lunatic to get all the crusty bits off the bottom of the pan! Double woohoo!

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Posted by on December 24, 2006 in How To

 

Top 10 things you should ALWAYS have in your pantry

If you’re lazy like me, which I assume you are because you’re on the internet reading blogs rather than doing something productive, like SHOPPING, then it’s safe to assume that you despise grocery shopping like I do.

I hate shopping.

  • Hate browsing the aisles, trying to find one particular item when I have a dozen other coloured logos, the words 98% FAT FREE! and NEW & IMPROVED! popping at my poor eyeballs.
  • Hate the unflatteringfluorescent lighting. It makes me squint and shows off my imperfectly blended make-up.
  • Hate the grubby trolley with its’ grubby dirty handle. Hate being looked at like a FREAK when I pull out my sanitizing hand spray from my bag and spray like crazy.
  • Hate people who won’t move and hog the whole aisle, especially when standing there reading the MAGAZINES! Just buy the damn thing you fricken tight-arse!
  • Hate the grotty fruit and vegies that are left over at the end of the day.
  • Hate finding a tray of beef minute steaks stashed on the taco shell shelf because some fat-arse couldn’t be bothered putting it back.
  • Hate, hate, hate the stench of the pet food aisle.
  • Hate having to pretend to be nice to the cashier, when in reality, I’m annoyed, my feet hurt, I’m hungry and having heart palpitations over how much of a dent this trolley full of shopping is going to put in my bank account.
  • Hate cringing while cashier gets a price check on something embarrassing like KY Jelly/condoms/supersized tampons/Family-size block of chocolate.

Okay, so I hate shopping. I could go on, but I will spare you.

The point is, having a well stocked pantry can help you avoid having to go the horrible supermarket as frequently.

So here are the top ten things you should have in your pantry at all times- with these lifesavers, there will always be something to make a meal out of.

1. Tinned Tomatoes

These are essential to any pantry. I cannot imagine my

pantry, or my life for that matter, without tinned tomatoes. They are perfect to whipping up yummy pasta sauces and they’re good for you. I read that they also contain high amounts of lycopene, a powerful anti-cancer antioxidant.

You can throw in a can of tomatoes with some olive oil, chopped onion and garlic, a few sprigs of basil, a bay leave and some salt and pepper and have yourself a delicious sauce for your pasta in no time. You can also use it to make soups, like tomato soup, lentil soup, bean soup and minestrone soup.

2.Pasta

Pasta is not an option. YOU MUST HAVE PASTA! Even poor people have pasta.

I don’t care what shape, what colour, whatEVER, just make sure you always have a few reserve packs of pasta waiting for you in case you catch a bad case of toolazytoshopitis. Apart from

the fact that dried pasta seems to keep forever, it’s a good base for a hearty, filling meal.

You can make a gazillion different pasta dishes with the variety of sauces out there. Tomato based sauces are easy to make or alternatively, you can do a cream based sauce. Chuck in some vegies, a few herbs and voila. Lazy mans’ dinner. Pasta like penne, orichette and other cute little shaped pastas are also great for pasta salads. Just mix in with some vegies like chopped capsicum or sweet corn kernels and mix with your fave dressing.

3. Chicken stock

You can add stock to give any meal flavour- everything from your lovely creamy pasta sauce to your minestrone soup, pumpkin soup, whatever soup! You can boil your pasta or rice in some stock to give it extra flavour and don’t forget it is the staple of a good risotto! You can sprinkle powdered stock over vegetables and roast in the oven for a pop of flavour or use as the base of finishing sauce for your chicken or vegetables.

This stuff can turn something drab into something edible.

4.Canned corn & canned beans.

These ingredients are very important to always have in your pantry. If you tend to suffer from Icantbebotheredshopping Syndrome, then the only vegetables you will have around will be part of the rotting sludge on the bottom of your crisper section of the fridge. An organised cook with always have canned corn and beans in their pantry…or suffers of paranoid schizophrenia (where they’re sure aliens are going to kick start Armageddon next Wednesday and have started stockpiling the rations in their bunker).

You can get almost any vegies in cans these days. I didn’t say they were any good however. I mean, potatoes out of a can will never be right. Ever.

Stick to the corn and beans because they’re probably the only ones that are any good.

You can use the corn in everything from chowders, minestrone, as a side, in fritters or patties with other ingredients, as a dip,slices, in quiches and muffins,  in a salsa or if you’re really lazy and really desperate, you can eat it out of can while you watch American Idol. I have done this. Wearing fluffy blue slippers.

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5. Tuna

You either love tuna or you hate it. There is no in between.

Tuna is a great addition to always keep in the pantry if you’re okay with fishy flavours.

You can use tuna in almost everything, from salads to sandwiches, to dips, to patties, to pastas. Tuna casserole or tuna mornay are a must for tuna lovers. My mum makes an easy, yummy comfort tuna casserole and I will have to get around to sharing the ridiculously easy recipe.

And nowadays there’s those fancy pants tunas with gourmet flavours, like chargrilled and with lemon pepper and red chilli pepper and sun-dried tomato and onion and BLAH BLAH! It’s fricken FISH, in a CAN, with oil or brine. Goes good with stuff. Staple amongst the poor uni students and working schmucks who stink out the office at lunch time with their little tin of stench and then throw the empty can into a wastebasket under their desk, where it CONTINUES to stink until the unforunate cleaner has to get rid of it.

Tuna is a good supplement for any recipes where you don’t want to use chicken. Just be sure to brush your teeth afterwards. Not to mention, its lean and healthy.

6.Breadcrumbs

Breadcrumbs are a fatties’ pantry essential.

With their potential for so much greasy evil, why wouldn’t you want to keep some in your pantry?

Breadcrumbs are great when you have some meat to crumb and fry up (HELL YEAH!) or if you want to make some patties, meatballs, rissoles, fried with some garlic and shallots and served with oil over pasta or even make some potato croquettes (mashed potato and chopped flat-leaf parsley rolled in egg wash and breadcrumbs and fried until golden and delish!) or even arancini, which are Italian rice balls. They are really yum. Which brings us to our next pantry life-saving item.

7.Rice

It isn’t just for Asian people anymore, okay?

Rice is a great staple to always keep in the pantry. It’s filling and can be used in a variety of ways.

The type of rice you want to keep in there is up to you, however for diversity, I think just regular long grain rice is the best.

Now I’m not usually one to endorse packet foods, but we live in a day and age where people waste most of their live chained to a desk at work and come home and don’t have a lot of time, or will to live energy and just want something quick. So those little packets of instant rice that you zap in the microwave are a solution for these situations. They may be a ridiculously overpriced rip off, but for the time poor, they are a  heavensend.

With rice, you can do risottos, add it to soups, make sushi, fried rice, arancini, rice salads, rice pudding, eat it plain with butter and cheese (another whilst watching American Idol moment) or use it to stuff vine leaves or make cabbage rolls. YUMMO!

8. Flour

For those nights when pancakes seem like a good dinner. Yep, you guessed it, during American Idol.

If you’re too proud to sink down to the level of having pancakes for dinner (and I can guarantee almost EVERYONE has done it ONCE!), then flour always comes in handy for making batters for fritters and patties, deep frying anything you can find or baking a cake, muffins, making pastry for a pie or quiche or baking a slice. It can also be used to thicken stews and sauces, used as the base of a roux for a cheese sauce or just toss it at your kids if they are giving you the shits, that ought to shut the little turds up.

9. Potatoes

If they haven’t gotten to the point where they’re sprouting alien-looking lifeforms, potatoes can be your saviour. They come in handy for everything from potato croquettes, to helping make tuna or salmon patties, to delish mashed potato. Alternatively you can keep them whole and bake them in the oven and split them open, slather them with garlic butter and eat with coleslaw and sour cream.

You could also top a baked potato with slices of avocado, beans, salsa, Cheddar cheese and sour cream. Yummity yum!

Slice em, fry em and make your own chips.

Cut them into wedges, give them a good toss in some olive oil and seasoning and bake.

Dice em up and cook em with some capsicum, garlic, tomato paste and onion for a yummy dinner to dip some bread into. The smell is DIVINE.

And last of all….

10. A box of your favourite cereal.

For when American Idol is on.

Like pancakes, eating cereal for dinner is something we’ve all done at least once in our lifetimes and really, it’s not so bad. It’s a healthy, complete meal (I keep telling myself that). There’s grains, rice, fruit, nuts, vegetables like corn….and you’re getting a dose of dairy from the splash of milk….Okay. I wouldn’t recommend eating cereal for dinner as a long term solution. Especially the high fibre ones. But for those nights, where the thought of cooking dinner is enough to make you wanna get all emo and start writing death poetry, a bowl of cereal isn’t the worst thing you could sit down with.

You can also use certain cereals to make muesli bars, muffins, slices, cookies or eat it straight from the box as a snack…

 
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Posted by on December 24, 2006 in Ingredients 101, Inspiration

 

Disgusting Dinners

Omg!

DisgustingI have spent the last hour laughing so hard that I almost couldn’t breathe!

You have to check out this thread for pics of peoples’ cooking disasters.

Click here to see it (you will have a great laugh, just make sure you haven’t just eaten or are about to eat!)

Some of that stuff is so freakin’ foul!

It was a great laugh and mighty, mighty entertaining!

One of my faves , pictured  left.

WHAT. THE. FUCK.

 
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Posted by on December 24, 2006 in General

 

Endeavouring into the land of the cupcakes

I will be attempting my first cupcakes in the next few days after a lengthy visit to the baking aisle at Coles!

Oh yay, the excitement.

Be sure to check back for pics!


 
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Posted by on December 23, 2006 in General

 
 
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