Five spice chicken

Five spice chicken

Five spice chicken

Five spice chicken

You just have to try this five spice chicken recipe, it does take a little preparation but the ingredients are few and the cooking process takes just a few minutes. You can keep it in the fridge overnight for use the next day if you like, so get the preparation out of the way when you know you are going to be at home for a few hours. It is really delicious with a sweet and spicy, not hot skin that is unbelievably good. (4 people)

What you need

1 large whole chicken
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons Chinese five spice
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar or rice wine vinegar
Oil

The process

Take a large pot that the whole chicken will fit into easily and fill ½ way up with water. Bring the water to the boil. Remove from the heat and submerge the chicken in the boiling water. Cover the pot and leave for 30 minutes. This partly cooks the chicken and allows it to absorb extra water.

Remove the chicken and set on a rack to drain. Pat dry with a clean cloth.

Now combine the honey, five spice and vinegar together in a bowl and mix well to combine.

Place the chicken on a plate and brush the skin with the glaze mixture and place in the fridge for 20 minutes. Repeat this process about 4 times until there is no glaze left over.

After the last glaze leave it in the fridge for at least 2 hours, then use kitchen scissors to cut into 4 portions.

When you are ready to cook, heat enough oil in a pot on high or almost smoking to cover the chicken pieces. When it reaches the smoking level, reduce the heat to medium and use tongs to add each piece to the oil.

Deep fry for 5 minutes and once done set aside on absorbent paper to drain.

It’s really good I tell you. Here are a few other Chinese recipes for you to try.

North Indian chicken curry

North Indian chicken curry

Chicken curry

Chicken curry

This chicken curry recipe is not hot but the spiciness of the sauce with this yellow rice recipe are just made in heaven. It does not take long to make and is so good, you will probably make it twice in the first week you try it. There are so many chicken curry recipes that you need to try a few before you find the one that is just right for your taste, so give this one a try. (4 people)

What you need

8 skinless chicken portions (thighs and drumsticks are best)
150ml plain yoghurt
4 tablespoons tikka curry paste (available at all large supermarkets)
1 onion halved and sliced
1 teaspoon crushed garlic
1 teaspoon cumin powder
1 teaspoon fresh ginger finely grated
Pinch of chili flakes
2 tablespoons ground almonds (this makes a big difference)
Salt
Oil
Water

The process

Take each chicken portion and with a sharp knife cut 3 slashes into the flesh almost to the bone.

In a large bowl add the yoghurt and curry paste, mix well and then toss in the chicken pieces. Mix them around to ensure that each piece is well covered. Cover with cling film and allow to marinate for at least 1 hour in the fridge.

In a large pan on a medium to high heat with a little oil, fry the onions and garlic. (3 or 4 minutes)

Add the cumin, ginger and chili flakes and toss around for about 2 minutes.

Now add your chicken pieces and cook them for about 10 minutes or so until browned all over.

Add whatever marinate is left over, add a dash of water (about 50ml or so), mix, reduce the heat to medium low, cover the pan and let it simmer for 15 minutes until chicken is cooked through.

That’s that, and here is the yellow rice recipe.

Pecan cookies

Pecan cookies

Easy pecan cookies

Easy pecan cookies

These are really easy to make pecan cookies that will be devoured in no time flat. They are crisp with a toasted pecan on top and covered with a dusting of icing sugar which makes them completely irresistible. Make more than one batch of these pecan cookies and store a few for yourself out of reach or you will need to fight for every last one. (makes about 20)

What you need

60g butter
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
1/4 cup icing sugar
½ cup flour
1/3 cup pecans finely chopped or blitzed in a blender
Handful of whole pecans

The process

Add the butter, icing sugar and vanilla essence to a bowl and beat well until smooth. Add the chopped pecan nuts and sift in the flour.

Stir to combine and then roll teaspoon size balls with your hands and place them on a greased and lined baking tray, leaving about a 3cm gap all around to allow for spreading.

Place a whole pecan on top of each ball and press down lightly, don’t flatten them, they will spread during baking.

Bake in a 180 Celsius oven for 15minutes or so until lightly browned. Remove from the oven and allow them to cool and crisp up.

Give them a dusting with sifted icing sugar.

That’s that, you have foolproof pecan cookies.

Store them in an airtight container.

Here is a chocolate pecan cookie recipe for you to try as well.

Coconut ice slice

Coconut ice slice

Coconut ice slice

Coconut ice slice

The holidays always remind me of the times spent on the Natal North coast and the local shop that always had coconut ice and peach sherbet in these huge glass jars. Here is a really fancy version of coconut ice layered into these delicious slices and toped with icing. These are incredibly sweet but so delicious. The kids will love making these… and if you can get them to sell a few for some holiday pocket money, al the better.

What you need

Base
90g butter
½ teaspoon vanilla essence
¼ cup caster sugar
1 egg yolk
1 cup flour
¼ cup maizena (corn flour)
1 heaped tablespoon desiccated coconut

Filling
2 cups desiccated coconut
1 cup caster sugar
2 eggs beaten
½ cup glace cherries roughly chopped

Icing

1 cup icing sugar
20g butter
1 tablespoon milk

The process

Take a baking tray and lightly grease with butter, then cover with wax paper.

In a mixing bowl, combine the butter, vanilla essence, caster sugar and egg yolk and beat it until it is smooth and well combined. Sift in the flour and maizena, then add the coconut and stir to combine.

Lightly flour a surface and knead the dough for a minute or two until smooth. Separate into 2 portions and set aside.

Now combine all of the filling ingredients together in another bowl and mix well. Set aside

In a pot over a very low heat add the caster sugar and butter and combine, then add 1 tablespoon of milk and mix until it is thick but easy to spread. You may need a little extra milk, but see how it feels first.

Press the one half of the dough into the based of the baking sheet, This is a 19x29cm baking sheet, spreading it evenly over the base. Spread over a layer of the filling, using it all and then place another layer of dough over the top. (The second piece of dough needs to be rolled out large enough to cover the baking sheet and is best done by placing a layer of wax paper on your surface, then the dough and then another layer of wax paper over it. Roll out the dough, remove the top layer of wax paper and then invert over the tray and removing the last layer of wax paper.)

Press it down lightly and trim the edges with a knife.

Place in a 160 Celsius oven for about 30 minutes until the top begins to brown.

Remove from oven and allow to cool, then spread a layer of the icing over the top, sprinkle with coconut and leave to cool completely.

When it’s completely cooled, cut into squares with a sharp knife.

These are great folks and well worth the effort. here is a  straight forward coconut ice recipe

Traditional steamed Christmas pudding

Traditional steamed Christmas pudding

Steamed Christmas pudding

Steamed Christmas pudding

This Christmas pudding recipe really needs a scale, I have tried to get it to cups but depending on the size of some of the ingredients, whether they are chopped or not etc… just does not do it justice. Head on over to the appliances section and get one, they are not expensive and once you have one you will wonder how you did without it.

You should make your Christmas puddings now for Christmas, just like a good Christmas cake, a Christmas pudding needs some time for all of the flavours to combine and the alcohol to really make a difference. Some say you should make them as far as 3 months ahead but not really necessary. You can also make it a week or so before but giving it time does make a difference. It’s an old fashioned recipe that has suet in it which you can get from your butcher, you just need to ask for it. You can use Brandy or Rum. Makes 2 small ones or 1 large one.

What you need

120g caster sugar
120g suet
150g sultanas
150g raisins
120g currants
60g candied citrus peel chopped
60g flour
60g breadcrumbs
25g almond flakes
Zest of 1/2 lemon
3 medium eggs beaten
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon mixed spice
1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
pinch of salt
75ml brandy

The process

Take either 2 small glass bowls (600ml or so) or 1 larger glass mixing bowl (1200 to 1500ml) and lightly butter them inside. Use a piece of the butter wrapper, it’s easiest.

Combine everything except the Brandy and eggs in a large mixing bowl and mix with a wooden spoon to distribute evenly. Now add the Brandy and the eggs and give it a good mix.

Fill the bowls equally with mixture and then cover tightly with tin foil by laying a piece over the top and creating a thick edge with the foil that hangs over the edge.

Now take the largest pot you have, place a saucer upside down on the base, place the pudding on the saucer and pour water around the side to reach about 2/3 up the side of the pudding and bring to the boil. When it’s boiling reduce heat to a simmer, place the lid on and it needs to steam for 5 hours.

Important: Check every 15 to 30 minutes depending on the size of your pot and top up the water level.

Remove from the heat and allow it to cool before yuo remove it. Once cooled and out of the pot, cover it with a fresh piece of foil and set it on a shelf in a cool dry place until you are ready to eat.

To reheat, steam in the same way for an hour, place a plate over the top and then turn upside down allowing the pudding to settle on the plate.

Pour about 2 tablespoons of brandy over the top and set it alight. merry Christmas.

It’s very rich and this will happily serve 6 to 8 people with custard and perhaps one of these strawberry cream cakes.

Here are all the rest of the Christmas recipes you will need.

Kung Po Chicken

Kung Po Chicken

Kung Po Chicken

Kung Po Chicken

If you like spicy Chinese food, then Kung Po chicken is for you. This Chinese recipe is best made for a group of special people you have coming over because it is not cheap to make and uses some exotic items that you will have to go to a Chinese supermarket to get. It is so good and just not worth trying to substitute things for. It was a favorite dish of Last emperor in The 20th century and Chefs were known to be beside themselves in fear for their lives if the emperor did not like their Kung Po Chicken. It’s a quick recipe to prepare so don’t be phased (2 people that can easily be doubled)

What you need

1 tablespoon oil
3 medium red chilies sliced (if you do not like it fiery remove some of the seeds)
1 teaspoon crushed garlic
400g chicken breasts cubed
1 teaspoon chili bean sauce
50g tinned sliced bamboo shoots
50g tinned water chestnuts that have been drained
1 tablespoon rice wine (here you can use dry sherry)
100ml chicken stock
50g unsalted peanuts
2 spring onions chopped roughly
I tablespoon cornflour (maizena) in 3 tablespoons water

The process

Heat a wok or frying pan on a high heat, add the oil and then chilies and garlic. Toss it for a few seconds to coat them in oil and begin sizzling.

Now add the chicken pieces and chili bean sauce, toss it around for about 3 minutes until the chicken pieces are white on the outside.

Now add the stock, bamboo shoots, water chestnuts, peanuts and rice wine or sherry and allow to boil. Add the cornflour mixture, stir and allow to thicken. Keep stirring until it is fairly thick and shiny.

Transfer to a serving dish and prepare to impress.

It’s best served with short grain rice that is quite sticky but each to his own. Ebjoy it folks it is fantastic. You should always serve a few different Chinese dishes and this Lemon Chicken recipe will certainly compliment it.

Gnocchi supreme recipe

Gnocchi supreme recipe

Gnocchi

Gnocchi

I just love Gnocchi and this recipe has a creamy vegetarian sauce that I often add small chicken pieces or chicken mince to if I want some extra substance. The sauce is quite extraordinary with the pine nuts flavor really adding some depth to it. It’s a very simple recipe to put together if you are using store bought gnocchi but if you really want to go the whole hog, tru this gnocchi recipe and make the whole dish from scratch, there is something quite therapeutic about making gnocchi and the sense of achievement is wonderful, let alone the awe your friends and family will regard you with when you tell them you made the gnocchi as well. (4 people)

What you need

750g cooked gnocchi
3/4 cup cream
1 tin chopped peeled tomatoes (425g)
1 heaped teaspoon crushed garlic
1/2 cup sundried tomatoes chopped (use the ones in oil and drain them)
1/2 cup black olives drained and chopped
500g chopped spinach (always wash even if it says washed)
1/2 cup pine nuts
salt and pepper

The process

First you want to toast the pine nuts by placing a pan on a medium to high heat, adding the pine nuts and letting them toast. Toss them around until they begin to brown and there is a beautiful aroma in the kitchen. remove them and set aside.

In a large pot add the cream, the whole tin of tomatoes with all of its juice and the garlic and bring it to the boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for about 4 or 5 minutes allowing some of the fluid to evaporate. It will begin to thicken and you know that this is the time to add the sund dried tomatoes and olives. Let it simmer for another 2 or 3 mintes to heat everything through.

Taste it at this stage and season with salt and pepper.

Now add the cooked gnocchi, the spinach and the pine nuts to the sauce and allow to simmer until the spinach has wilted and heated through.

That is that, a fantastic Italian meal.

if you are using chicken in your dish, add cooked chicken that has been lightly salted with the sun dried tomatoes.

Crayfish recipe

Crayfish recipe

crayfish

crayfish

Summer time means seafood and the king of all seafood is Crayfish. The succulent sweet meat of crayfish tails needs very little fancying up and personally I am not a fan of Crayfish Thermidor, which I find so rich and honestly, why muck around with one of natures most beautiful flavors. (for 2)

What you need

2 large crayfish cleaned and halved
finely grated rind of 1/2 a lemon
butter
Olive oil
2 teaspoons crushed garlic
Palm of chopped fresh parsley
Juice of 2 large lemons
Salt and pepper

The process

In a pan on a medium heat, add about 2 heaped tablespoons of butter and a splash of olive oil until foamy.

Place the crayfish flesh side down and cook until you begin to get browning and caramelizing on the flesh. It should take no longer than 3 or 4 minutes.

Add the lemon rind, garlic, and lemon juice to the pan, give it a good shake around and then turn the crayfish over, place a lid on the pan and allow to steam for about another 4 or 5 minutes.

The flesh should be white and quite firm.

Place 2 halves on each plate, spoon over a bit of the sauce and serve with lemon wedges and a little grind of salt and black pepper.

A nice fresh but simple salad with a few croutons is ideal for this recipe. try these prawns kebabs for your summer braais.

Indian Kofta recipe

Indian Kofta recipe

Indian food recipe

Indian food recipe

Kofta Indian style with a rich tomato and yogurt sauce is just so morish your family will be wiping the bowl with whatever Naan bread is left over. Kofta is really a Greek dish but most countries do something like Kofta with various sauces and ingredients like this Kofta on skewers which is a very easy to make recipe that tastes fantastic. This dish is more about the sauce which takes a while and needs a lot of ingredients, so visit your local deli or Indian food store first.

What you need

Kofta
500g lamb mince
1 onion grated
1 heaped teaspoon fresh grated ginger
1 heaped teaspoon crushed garlic
2 finely chopped green chili’s
Pinch of salt
1 egg

Sauce
For the real flavor of this sauce you will need the seeds, so go out and buy them.
2 teaspoons coriander seeds
2 teaspoons cumin seeds
3 tablespoons sunflower oil
1 cinnamon stick whole
4 cloves whole
8 cardamom pods
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon garam masala
1 onion grated
Pinch of salt
1/2 tin chopped peeled tomatoes
2/3 cup plain unflavoured yogurt

The process

First we make the Kofta balls.

Grate the onion and place it in a colander, now press it firmly with a spoon and drain out some of the liquid. Add all the rest of the kofta ingredients to the onion in a bowl and mix together with your hands very well. Really get in there and squeeze the mixture to combine all of the flavors.

Now make about 20 to 24 equal size balls, you want to form them nice and firm. Place on a plate, cover with cling film and into the fridge while you make the sauce.

For the sauce, the first thin is to roast the seeds. Place a pan on the stove on a hot heat and add the coriander and cumin seeds. Toss them around until the begin popping and the smells coming off the pan are filling the kitchen.

remove and place in a pestle and mortar and grind to a fine powder.

Now add all of the rest of the ingredients except the tomatoes and yogurt to a pan on a low heat. Cook slowly until the onions are transparent and quite soft, add the ground cumin and coriander seeds and cook for a further 2 minutes or so stirring constantly. You should be salivating at this stage.

Now add the tomatoes and heat through. Now add the yogurt and, mix quickly and add the kofta balls. Turn up the heat and bring to the boil. Immediately reduce again to low heat and simmer uncovered for 1 hour, stirring from time to time.

You may find that you need to add a little water during the simmer but not more than 1/2 a cup added as needed.

It’s seriously tasty this, so take a chance and give it a try. Naan bread is a must for this recipe.

Prawn Bhajis

Prawn Bhajis

Prawn bhajis

Prawn bhajis

Prawn bhajis are delicious little snacks that you will probably have to make a double batch of. The prawn and fresh fresh herbs compliment each other so perfectly that you will need every ounce of willpower not to hide them from everybody you made them for. Prawn bhajis or sometimes known as pakoras can also be made using fish or vegetables but whatever type you make, you must have a good chutney to dip them in or a sweet chili sauce. This makes about 2 dozen bite size bhajis.

What you need

600g peeled and deveined prawns chopped
1/2 cup flour
1 medium onion finely chopped
3 or 4 green chilis finely sliced
Palm of finely chopped fresh coriander (2 to 3 tablespoons)
Pinch of bicarb of soda
water
Salt and pepper
Oil for frying

The process

In a bowl add the flour and then about 2 tablespoons of water. Mix it to a thick batter. If you need slightly more water add another 1 tablespoon. It must be thick and mixed smooth. Use a fork to work out any lumps.

Add all the rest of the ingredients and season with a grind of salt and pepper and mix to distribute everything evenly.

Heat about 5cm of oil in a pot or frying pan to medium hot, not smoking. To test, drop a cube of bread in the oil and give it 15 seconds and if it is browned and not burned it is the correct heat.

Now take tablespoons of the mixture and drop them into the oil. Fry until golden and irresistable.

Serve with Chutney as an anytime snack. Try the Kerala country chicken recipe for a perfectly rounded off Indian food meal.