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Food, general thoughts, food…

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Chinese BBQ Pork

What does my brain immediately dream up when I see pork fillets displayed in the meat section of my local grocery shop? Chinese BBQ pork that is what! I saw these two fillets for sale and that was my first and only thought, this would be a plan that would NOT be waivered from.

So pork in hand I began preparations. I marinated the pork overnight, just to get that flavour and the redness into the pork (the flavour is great but I wanted that red ‘take away Chinese’ visual component also)

This was cooked in our hooded BBQ outside and aside from the whole thing catching alight in the process, it cooked beautifully. Bit of a fat fire in the bottom of the BBQ, nothing to really worry about although it did give me a few anxious moments hoping that my carefully prepared meal wasn’t going to end up as charcoal.

Chinese Barbeque Pork

1 kg pork fillet
2 star anise, crushed
1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
2 tablespoons light soy sauce
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons honey
1½ teaspoon dry sherry
2 teaspoons ginger, grated
1 large clove garlic
1½ teaspoons red food colouring

For the marinade, combine all ingredients together and mix well.
Pour over pork, cover and refrigerate overnight, turning occasionally if possible.
Barbeque pork, brushing with marinade, for around 15 minutes.

1 tablespoon of Chinese five spice powder can be substituted for the star anise.

I also put the marinade on the stove and reduced it, stirring in a few chopped green onions while the pork was cooking. We poured this over the pork and rice when we served it up.


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Drumsticks with Spicy Plum Glaze

Another from the files of ‘we had it when we were away’ this was sweet and spicy with a good hot kick from the tabasco. This was also pre-prepared and frozen in its marinade for the trip. The original recipe was a from a very old microwave book but I altered it for the oven a bit, cooking meat in the microwave is still not something I’m really comfortable with although I have done it and been plenty pleased with the results on occasion. It was great in the oven though and took no work at all on the day, always a plus for the holidays!


Drumsticks with Spicy Plum Glaze
Serves 3

1/2 cup plum sauce
1 tablespoon light soya sauce
1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
1/2 teaspoon tabasco sauce
2 tablespoons dry sherry
1 teaspoon oil
2 teaspoons sugar
6 chicken drumsticks

Combine sauces, sherry, oil and sugar in a large bowl with chicken, cover, marinate in refrigerator several hours or overnight.
Place chicken and marinade in oven pans and place in a 180C oven.
Cook for 45 mins or until cooked through.
Thicken marinade with cornflour and water if necessary (I didn’t)
Serve with rice.

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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.


Crockpot cooking

I have dragged the crockpot out this week. I am not generally a huge fan of the slow cooker but we have a houseful of people this week and lots to do so I find it takes the stress out of making sure dinner is prepared on time if I do it at breakfast time. The meals are hearty and I am learning how to make them flavourful (my biggest beef with the slow cooker is that the recipes I had tried in the past didn’t suit my palate and seemed very tasteless) and with the addition of rice or pasta they fill everyone up nicely.
Last nights meal was Creamy Parmesan Chicken. It wasn’t bad. Of course I used cream of chicken soup to replace the cream of mushroom (husband is back home, sometimes I’ll be sneaky and use the mushroom anyway but I was feeling kind) and I didn’t have any celery salt so I omitted that.

I’ll be trying out a few more crockpot/slow cooker recipes this week. I’ll keep you posted, at least I will if they are any good…

Creamy Parmesan Chicken in the crockpot

4 Chicken thighs, boneless and skinless, chopped (I had 6 for 5 people)
1 Can 300g Condensed Cream of Mushroom Soup  (I used cream of chicken)
1 Can 300g Condensed Cream of Celery Soup
1/2 Cup Sherry
1/4 Cup Parmesan Cheese, (with extra set aside for garnish)
2-1/2 Tbs Lemon Juice
1 Tbs Paprika
1/4 tsp Garlic Powder, or to taste
1/4 tsp Onion Powder, or to taste
1/4 tsp Salt, or to taste
1/8 tsp Pepper, or to taste
1/8 tsp Celery Salt  (didn’t have)

Arrange chicken in crock-pot.  In mixing bowl, combine soups, sherry, seasonings and cheese; mix well.  Pour over chicken.
Cover and cook on Low for 6 hours or on High for 3 hours. Serve with rice or noodles with extra Parmesan Cheese for garnish, if desired.
This would go great with mashed potatoes, too.

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Curry in a hurry

This was a curry in a hurry and not bad for it. If you like a hotter curry then some more curry powder and maybe some cayenne might be in order. I found it enjoyable as it is.
Could have used some garlic naan though, pity I am such a piggy else I would have had some left over from the other night….  🙂

Creamy Chicken Curry
Serves 4

4 chicken breast fillets
30g butter
1 onion, finely sliced
2 teaspoons curry powder
1 teaspoon turmeric
2 tablespoons sherry
1 cup chicken stock
2 tablespoons plain flour
2 tablespoons water
1/4 cup cream

Cut chicken into thin strips. Combine butter, onion, curry powder and turmeric in dish, cook on HIGH 5 minutes.
Stir in chicken, sherry and stock, cook on HIGH 8 minutes or until chicken is tender.
Blend flour with cold water, stir into dish with cream.
Cook on HIGH 3 minutes or until sauce boils and thickens.
Pour over rice.

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Chicken with Thyme Butter Sauce

Originally this recipe did not have the cup of wine/sherry but once I had cooked it I found it quite dry with no sauce to spoon over, and it needed a little something to liven it up. The sherry (it was all I had in the cupboard) did the trick and this was really quite nice over rice.

Chicken with Thyme Butter Sauce
Serves 4

4 chicken breast fillets
plain flour
1/4 cup olive oil
125g butter
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
2 green shallots, chopped
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 cup sweet sherry or white wine

Toss chicken in flour, shake away excess flour. Heat oil and half the
butter in large frying pan, add chicken to pan, cook over medium heat for
about 10 minutes (or microwave on HIGH for about 8 minutes) or until
chicken is tender. Drain chicken on absorbent paper, keep warm. Discard
pan juices.
Heat remaining butter in same pan, add thyme and shallots, stir over
medium heat for about 2 minutes or until shallots are soft. Stir in juice and sherry,
cook over medium heat for 3 minutes. Serve over chicken.