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Food, general thoughts, food…


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Creamy Garlic Prawns

What to have for dinner when you are pressed for time, tired or just don’t want to spend ages preparing anything? Creamy garlic prawns fit the bill perfectly and look like you have prepared a complex and gourmet meal to boot. It’s probably worth mentioning that they taste divine also.

This is so easy to make and the most time consuming portion is cooking the rice that you serve with it. I adore prawns (they have to be pre-peeled though as I am lazy and they are fiddly and kind of yucky) and there is often a bag of frozen prawn meat in my freezer, just waiting for the right time to be unleashed on my taste buds in various forms.

Creamy Garlic Prawns

10 Large Green Peeled Tiger Prawns (I used 500g thawed prawn meat)
Extra Virgin Olive Oil – Enough to cover the pan
2 Tbls crushed Garlic
1 Tbls chopped parsley
1 cup of thickened cream

Heat the olive oil.
Fry the prawns in the oil until they’re just cooked.
Add the garlic and fry off a little then add the parsley and the cream.
Simmer, reducing the garlic cream sauce just a little.
Serve on a bed of boiled rice.

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Creamy Moroccan Chicken and Vegetable Casserole

I was terribly lazy and not feeling like going outside in the rain so we had this sans the parsley which is shocking really because if I glance out of my kitchen window I look over 6 of the bushiest and most prolific parsley plants you ever did see.  So I am suffering a little guilt at not taking the trouble to dash out in the rain, but what is done is done and the dish was wonderful, saucy and delicious all the same so I’ll get over it I suspect.

I didn’t get much ‘Moroccan’ flavour out of this dish, it was somewhat overpowered by the mustard added at the end. It was a terrific dish though and well worth the time it took to prepare.

The original recipe (here) was actually a slow cooker recipe but I chose to change it up and do it in the oven.

Creamy Moroccan Chicken and Vegetable Casserole
Serves: 6

7-8 chicken drumsticks, skin on
2 medium carrots, chopped on chunky angles
1 small brown onion, diced finely
8-10 small potatoes
300 g cherry tomatoes
4 tablespoons plain flour
1 tablespoon Moroccan seasoning
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
4 tablespoons olive oil
60 g butter
4 garlic cloves, chopped thinly
½ cup dry white wine
½ cup chicken stock
2 bay leaves
¼ cup parsley
300 mL cream
2 tablespoons wholegrain mustard

Add Moroccan seasoning, salt and pepper to flour.
Coat chicken in flour mixture.
Heat oil and half the butter in pan, fry chicken in batches until browned.
Place chicken into a large casserole dish.
Meanwhile fry onion, garlic, carrot and baby potatoes until brown.
Add chicken stock and wine, bring to the boil and simmer for 5 minutes.
Pour vegetable mixture over chicken, add bay leaves.
Place in the oven at 150C for 1 1/2 hours.
Add cream, cherry tomatoes and mustard, cook for another half hour.
Garnish with parsley.
Serve with rice.


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Chicken and Mushroom Casserole

My husband and I spend almost every waking hour of every day together and I miss him when he travels for work. We keep in touch via phone when he is gone but it isn’t the same, I miss him in so many different ways. The one thing that is good about his travelling is the opportunity to cook meals that he wouldn’t enjoy if he was here. This in no way makes up for him not being around, I’d give up mushrooms happily if he would just stay home but it is a little silver lining to the clouds that cover my day when he isn’t here.

I love mushrooms, I don’t often cook with them as my husband abhors them and they are a very pervasive flavour, you can’t just pick them out and make it okay, so I just leave them out. I love to have them on toast for breakfast (that I can do for just me) but I really love them teamed up with chicken, I think that makes the best flavour combination of them all.

Last night’s meal was just for me. My daughter (who also loves mushrooms) was inexplicably not hungry but I had a bag of mushrooms in the fridge, brought in expectation of an upcoming business trip and I was not letting them go to waste.

The preparation of this dish was fairly quick and although it took some time to cook it was certainly worth the wait. The rice cooked in the mushroom juices, stock and cream and could have been a meal just on its own. The chicken was half roasted, half poached from being exposed to the oven heat on one side and being submerged in the rice and liquids on the other side and was delicious.

There is still a fair amount left and I am very much looking forward to lunchtime when I can decently get dug into it again, I’ll freeze any leftovers for another meal down the track. Happily the business trip was only an overnighter and it is back to mushroomless meals again for the foreseeable future. This was certainly a meal worthy of the wait.

Chicken and Mushroom Casserole
Serves: 4

45 mL olive oil
6 chicken pieces
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 onion, sliced
250 g mushrooms, chopped
1½ cups uncooked rice
2 tablespoons fresh oregano, chopped
500 mL chicken stock
125 mL white wine
250 mL cream
Salt and pepper to season

Heat the oil in a large frying pan and brown the chicken.
Set aside and then saute the onions, garlic and mushrooms.
Add the rice and stir to coat with oil. Add oregano and transfer to a casserole dish.
Place chicken on top.
Combine the stock, wine and cream and pour over chicken.
Season with salt and pepper.
Bake in a preheated oven at 180°C for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until rice is tender.

Test the rice in several places before dishing out, I discovered that although the first spoonful of rice seemed cooked there were a few spots that could have used a little longer.


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Creamy Lemon Chicken Pasta

Scrolling through my recipe file, looking for something tasty for dinner, I can upon this dish. As soon as I saw it, I knew it was ‘the one’ I had to try this recipe, the sooner the better. It did not let me down.

I could eat this every day and not get sick of it. It was light and tasty and the sauce clung to the noodles making every bite a delicious creamy lemon flavoured taste of heaven. Maybe I was just hungry but this dish ticked all of my boxes, simple, tasty, easy and quick to make. I could have eaten a truck load of it (I restrained myself to one bowl, but it took real effort)

Creamy Lemon Chicken Pasta
Serves: 2

280 mL double cream
3 chicken breasts, diced (I used thighs, of course)
Pasta shapes
Rind of 1 lemon, finely grated
juice of 1 lemon
Grated cheese
2 cloves garlic, sliced thinly
Olive oil

Heat up a small amount of the oil in the frying pan.
Add chicken and garlic to pan and fry until cooked.
Cook pasta as per packet instructions.
Once chicken has cooked, pour in the cream and add grated cheese.
Add the lemon juice and rind into the chicken mixture.
If the mixture needs thickening, add a small amount of cornflour and stir. (I didn’t do this, it was thick enough)
Drain pasta once cooked and mix through chicken.


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Oreo Cupcakes

This is a guest recipe, my daughter decided to contribute to the campaign to fatten me up further by making these wonderful Oreo cupcakes. I am not a big Oreo fan but I am a big cupcake fan and the combination of both is amazing. For once I am the eater, not the cooker 🙂 and I am very much enjoying the exchange of roles.

Even if you are not a particular fan of this classic American biscuit, I urge you to try these cupcakes, they are really very good.

Oreo Cupcakes

Cupcakes
2 1/4 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
120g butter, room temperature
1 2/3 cups sugar
3 large egg whites, room temperature
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup milk
20 Oreo cookies, coarsely chopped

Frosting
1 2/3 cups whipping cream
3 Tbsp powdered sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
6 Tblsp Oreo cookie crumbs

Preheat the oven to 180C.
Line a muffin tray with cupcake liners. In a bowl, combine the dry ingredients.
Beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg whites, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Blend in the vanilla extract. With the mixer speed on low, add half the dry ingredients followed by milk. Beat minimally until just combined and add the rest of the dry ingredients until just mixed. Gently fold in the chopped Oreos.
Fill the liners with batter. Bake until a toothpick inserted comes out clean (about 20mins).
Cool in the tray for 5 minutes and then on a wire rack. Do not frost until completely cool.

To prepare the frosting, in the clean bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, combine the whipping cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract. Beat on medium-high speed until the whipped cream holds stiff peaks. Gently fold in the cookie crumbs with a spatula.
Scoop the mixture into a pastry bag and pipe frosting decoratively on top of the cupcakes. (We had a little trouble getting the frosting to pipe even though the biscuits were thoroughly crushed; maybe we just need a bigger tip)


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Chicken Lombardy

This was my Friday night dinner. My Daughter was away for the weekend (she was still home while I was preparing this and was totally put out that she was missing it) and my husband was flying in later in the evening so I wanted something I could prepare earlier and know would be good whenever he got home. This fit the bill perfectly.

The photographs don’t do this any kind of justice. This meal was amazing. For a casserole that took a few minutes to throw together it had a deceptively ‘fancy’ flavour. If I was served this in a restaurant with a nice side of vegetables I would be very pleased indeed.

Of course there was tweaking involved. This recipe originated in a very old microwave cook book that I used to own. The microwave used to have a ‘roast’ setting which my current one does not have so I thought I would adapt it to the oven instead, that is the recipe that you find below. Also I didn’t have any brandy handy (my husband is a South African ex pat, brandy does not last in this house) so sherry made a decent substitute.

 

Chicken Lombardy

1kg-chicken pieces
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 onions, coarsely chopped
2/3 cup chicken stock
2/3 cup dry white wine
3 tablespoon brandy (I used sherry)
1/2 cup cream
1 cup white breadcrumbs
30g butter, melted
1 teaspoon finely chopped oregano

Preheat oven to 220C.
Brush chicken pieces with oil. Place on Low Rack and cook for 30 minutes until roasted.
Combine salt, pepper, onions, chicken stock, white wine, brandy and cream.
Place chicken pieces in a 3-litre casserole dish. Pour over sauce.
Sprinkle with combined breadcrumbs, butter and oregano.
Cook for a further 20 mins or until crumbs are toasted and sauce is heated through.


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Strawberry Ripple Cheesecake

I was reading someone’s blog today and they were waxing lyrical about the perfectness of peoples food blogs, the perfectly manufactured pictures in carefully detailed settings, the amusing and clever anecdotes and interesting and exceptional stories that people tell and all I could think was, ‘well she’s never been to my blog’.

My blog is made by me and for me, it isn’t impressive or clever, the pictures are quick snaps taken with my phone when the fancy takes me. They are often blurry and somewhat out of focus and the content isn’t always displayed to its greatest advantage. I don’t have exceptional stories or amazing wonders to share. I am a quiet unassuming individual that writes a blog just ‘because’ and if it brings joy of any kind to other people then that is a very good thing, but just so long as it doesn’t hurt anyone then I am happy.

Please, don’t come to my blog to see amazing food pictures, or to read about interesting and amazing adventures because you won’t find it here. Just some simple and easy recipes, the odd post about my little vegetable patch, even a photo or two of my cat and some rambling about whatever crosses my mind when I sit at the computer to write a post.

I may be old, I may be boring, I may be a stick in the mud (it has been said by an unkind person with whom I no longer associate) but I am happy and you can’t ask for more than that!

Just in case happiness eludes you today, here is a recipe that is guaranteed to MAKE you happy. Who wouldn’t be happy with a cheesecake of this calibre? This is my favourite cheesecake (sorry honey, I swear I will make a lemon one next time!). Have at it!!!

Strawberry Ripple Cheesecake

1x 250 g pkt plain chocolate biscuits, crushed
125 g butter, melted
1x 250g punnet strawberries
whipped cream
strawberries
3 teaspoons gelatine
1/3 cup water
1x 250 g pkt cream cheese
200 g carton strawberry yogurt
3/4 cup caster sugar
300 ml carton cream, whipped

Grease spring form tin. (I like to line it with aluminium foil)
Combine biscuits and butter in bowl. Press over base and side of prepared tin.
Cover and refrigerate until set.
Sprinkle gelatine over water in a cup. Stand cup in pan of simmering water, stir until dissolved; cool slightly. Beat cream cheese, yogurt and sugar in a bowl until smooth.
Fold in cream and gelatine mixture. Blend strawberries until smooth.
Pour half the filling over biscuit base, cover with half the strawberry puree. Using a fork, gently swirl puree through filling.
Repeat with remaining filling and puree; swirl with a fork. Cover, refrigerate for several hours or until set.
Serve decorated with extra whipped cream and extra strawberries.