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Food, general thoughts, food…


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Bacon Wrapped Pork Fillet

I was fortunate a while back to procure a large amount of pork fillets on special. I stocked the freezer with them and have been cooking them this way and that for the past few months. The recipe (found here at the gourmet garden) gave me the idea for the recipe below which is very similar to the original. The only changes are the use of fresh herbs rather than packaged ones and I never peel my potatoes, also I just stirred the flavourings through the potatoes, I didn’t feel like mash.

It was all fabulous.

Bacon Wrapped Pork Fillet

500 g pork fillet
12 slices bacon
1½ Tbls fresh Parsley minced
½ Tbls Garlic minced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoons Dijon mustard
Cracked pepper

1 kg starchy potatoes, cut into 2 cm chunks
Butter
2 Tbls Basil pesto

Combine parsley, garlic, pepper and mustard in a bowl.
Butterfly the pork fillet.
Stuff with the mustard mixture then wrap pork with bacon one rasher at a time, overlapping the ends.
Heat the olive oil in a large non-stick frying pan.
Cook each side of the pork slowly until light golden brown.
Pour 100 ml of water into the pan, cover and let it cook on low heat for 15 minutes.
Turn the heat off and let the fillet rest in the pan for 5 minutes before cutting it into 1.5 cm slices.

Meanwhile, cook potatoes in a large pot of boiling salted water for 15 minutes or until tender.
Drain potatoes well and stir through butter, salt and pepper.
Stir in the Basil pesto.

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Bread Bun Chicken Pies

Here is a mushroom heavy work of art. Okay it may not be art (that is subjective) but it’s amazing all the same, cute presentation and fun to eat if you like that kind of thing. I do like that kind of thing, because I don’t do it every day so it’s good to get up close and personal with my food once in a while.

You could substitute any powdered soup mix you like or leave it out entirely and just add some powdered stock for flavour. I had a packet of cream of mushroom left over in the cupboard so that is what I used.

We used the bread excavated from the rolls to dip and soak up the mushroom gravy in the rolls and then enjoyed eating the crunchy roll itself with the inside soaked in gravy and tasty chicken pieces. This was a great meal with only a small amount of preparation and it ended up both tasting and looking really good.

Bread Bun Chicken Pies
Serves 4

4 medium, round bread rolls
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small brown onion, finely chopped
100g button mushrooms, thickly sliced
350g chicken thigh fillets, finely diced
45g packet cream of chicken soup mix
300mls light thickened cream
½ cup milk
½ cup parsley leaves, roughly chopped – optional

Preheat oven to 180ºC. Line a baking tray with baking paper.
Slice the top off the bread rolls. Set aside.
Using a teaspoon or fingers, gently remove bread from the inside of the rolls, leaving a 2cm thick crust on base and sides.
Brush inside of rolls and underside of tops with 1 tablespoon of oil.
Place on prepared baking tray. Bake for 5 to 10 minutes or until crisp.
Heat remaining oil in a non stick frying pan over a medium heat.
Add onion and button mushrooms cook for 3 to 4 minutes or until soft.
Add chicken. Stir until well combined.
Cook for 4 minutes or until just cooked.
Sprinkle packet of soup mix over chicken and stir until well combined. Remove pan from heat.
Slowly add cream and milk, stirring constantly.
Return to heat and bring to the boil, stirring constantly.
Reduce heat to low and simmer for 1 to 2 minutes or until sauce has thickened.
Stir through parsley if using.
Spoon chicken mixture into prepared bread rolls.
Bake for 5 minutes or until heated through.
Serve.

 


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Parsley overload

I picked parsley this week. Since the advent of the warmer weather (still jumper weather but you can feel winter losing its grip) the herbs have gone a little mad. Looking at them daily out of my kitchen window, I decided that it was time to give the parsley room to do it’s thing by bringing in a good portion of it for freezing. The picture above it about half what I harvested, chopped and bagged. I ended up with 3 sandwich bags stuffed full (I daren’t post a picture lest I be mistaken for a ‘herb’ dealer, the bags look a little suspect if you don’t know what is inside).

I have also come to the sad and disappointing conclusion that the only real area that I have to grow vegetables is just not going to cut it. There is just not enough sun. I can fertilise and water and control almost everything else my little plants need but without enough sunlight they just don’t thrive and certainly don’t produce much of any worth. I have moved my silverbeet out of their sun deficient plot and into 2 big pots and dragged them out into the front garden where they tripled in size in 2 weeks after an entire winter struggling to produce a few lanky leaves. I am very disappointed but have resigned myself to pot grown vegetables that I can drag about the place to find the sunbeams they so desperately crave.

Meanwhile I have begun to plant more shade tolerant plants in place of my vegetables. The herbs were already in pots and are doing well where they are on top of the garden wall. So I will still be able to see them out of the kitchen window. The view will be different without my little vegetables but just as, if not more, pleasant I expect with plants that are happier where they are.


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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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Fish and Potato Pie

I am always open to trying new things. Having said that, I feel like I can get a good idea of the end result of a recipe just by reading it and comparing the ingredients and cooking methods to more familiar recipes and can decide on the likelihood of success from there. This one threw me a bit because I have never tried anything quite like it and being a HUGE Shepard’s pie fan, the idea of the same theme but with fish was a little confronting. Having a large amount of fish in the freezer at the moment convinced me to give it a go however and I am so glad that I did.

This pie was exceptional.  It was savoury and tasty and everything I could hope for in a meal, especially a new recipe. The idea of a fish pie without a white sauce also took me by surprise, having seen recipes previously that all contained a white sauce component.

This even reheated nicely for those of you (like me) who fancy fish pie for breakfast (I don’t really run by the conventional rules when deciding what is breakfast food and what isn’t, my primary ruling is that if it is available it is acceptable) Anyway, if you are trepidatious (like I was) rest assured that this pie is worth the risk, give it a go and expand your ‘things to do with fish’ (or ‘things to eat for breakfast’) repertoire.

 

Fish and Potato Pie
Serves: 4

500 g fish fillets, steamed and diced (I microwaved mine in chunks at a low temperature for 10 mins or so and then flaked it)
2 tablespoons butter
2 medium onions, chopped finely
1 clove garlic, crushed
4 tablespoons chopped parsley
Salt and pepper
½ cup white wine
3 cups cooked mashed potatoes
Grated cheese

Melt butter in pan, add onion and garlic and sauté until transparent.
Remove from heat and add parsley, salt and pepper, fish and wine. Mix all together.
Pour mixture into greased ovenproof dish and top with mashed potatoes to completely cover.
Sprinkle liberally with grated cheese.
Bake at 200°C for 20 minutes or until top is golden brown.


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Chicken in Garlic Sauce

This received a ‘you have to make this again Mum’ from my daughter, high praise indeed!

I enjoyed both the simplicity and the taste of this dish. It was good and wholesome and hearty whilst still retaining a freshness about it. Use your own judgment and add the garlic to taste, the recipe calls for 10 cloves, I probably used less and it was very tasty, think of your family and co-workers and adjust accordingly.
I also added some more liquid during the cooking, it seemed to be getting a little dry and rather than risk burning and ruining the tasty sauce I added another 1/4 cup of water to give the chicken more time to cook thoroughly.

 

Chicken in Garlic Sauce
Serves 3

6 chicken drumsticks or pieces
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
10 garlic cloves, crushed (I used 3 heaped tsps of crushed garlic from a jar)
1/2 tsp red chilli flakes
1/4 cup chicken broth (I used vegie stock)
2 tablespoons dry white wine (or a good splash more if you like)
1/4 teaspoon saffron threads, crushed
1 bay leaf
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley

Sprinkle the chicken with salt. Heat the oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat.
Add the chicken, and cook for 5 minutes or until golden brown.
Turn the chicken over.
Add the garlic and chilli, and cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
Stir in broth, wine, saffron, and bay leaf.
Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat, and simmer 30 minutes or until chicken is done.
Discard bay leaf. Sprinkle with parsley.


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Fish with Dill Sauce

This recipe made a truck load of sauce/dressing/whatever you want to call it. I plan on making some chicken nuggets this week to mop up the left overs as I think that will be a dandy combination. Initially the honey in this sauce gave it a peculiar taste (to me anyway) but after ½ an hour in the refrigerator the flavours blended together and the honey taste dissipated into the sauce leaving it with just a hint of sweetness to blunt the tang of the yoghurt a little.

This sauce/dressing/whatever was fresh and light, full of herbs and tasted great, both with the fish and with the ubiquitous roast potatoes that it was teamed with.

I am enjoying the opportunity to cook more fish of late (my husband is allowing me to cook the fish for a change, as long as I give him free reign to keep on going out to catch it, it’s a win/win). This was another meal of Australian Salmon. The more I eat this fish, the more I wonder why it isn’t more popular amongst recreational fishermen as a table fish, oh well, all the more for me!

 

Fish with Dill Sauce

3/4 cup Greek yoghurt
1/2 cup fresh parsley leaves
1/2 cup fresh dill
1/2 cup chopped green onions
3 Tbls rice vinegar
1 Tbls honey
1 garlic clove, chopped
3/4 tsp salt, divided
1 Tbls vegetable oil, divided
6 fish fillets
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper

Combine first 7 ingredients in a food processor; add 1/2 teaspoon salt. Process until pureed.
Heat 1 1/2 teaspoons oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.
Sprinkle fish with 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper. Add 3 fillets to pan; cook 3 minutes per side
or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork. Remove from pan, and keep warm.
Repeat procedure with remaining oil and fillets; serve with sauce.