Chicken and sweet peppers stir fry

Chicken and sweet peppers stir fry

chicken-stir-fry

Chicken stir fry

This is a really tasty and very quick chicken dinner that is perfect for busy people. Use a mixture of your favorite peppers, green, red and yellow peppers. If you place the peppers under the grill first to blacken the skins, it allows you to peel off the outer skin making the peppers are sweeter and seriously delicious. If you don’t have the time just use them as is. (for 4 people)

What you need

2 tablespoons tomato sauce
2 tablespoons soy sauce

500g skinless chicken breasts cut into strips
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 peppers sliced
150g sugar snap peas
2 tablespoons Oyster sauce

The process

In a bowl, mix together the tomato sauce and soy sauce, then place the chicken strips into the sauce, mix to coat and leave to marinate while you prepare the peppers.

Heat a little oil, about 2 tablespoons, in a wok or large pan, add the chicken and stir fry for about 2 minutes. Add the black pepper, toss and stir fry for another 2 or 3 minutes.

Add the sliced peppers and the peas and stir fry for another 5 minutes or so.

Now add the Oyster sauce and toss around over the heat for another 2 minutes.

That’s it, you are done. Serve straight away with noodles or rice.

It is a simple and very healthy meal.

Hearty beef casserole

Hearty beef casserole

beefcasserole

Beef casserole

The nights are definately getting a little colder now and there is nothing quite like a hearty beef stew on a cold winters night to warm you up. This is a classic that I have added fresh herbs to. Winter presents some fantastic comfort food opportunities so keep a look out, there will be a whole bunch of new winter recipes in the days to come.

What you need

650g – 1kg stewing beef (I like chuck)
1 tin Chopped Tomatoes
300ml red wine or beef stock
1 punnet button mushrooms
2 small onions finely chopped
1 clove Garlic,
palm full of fresh chopped mixed herbs
1 tbsp tomato puree
1 tbsp oil
Salt & Black Pepper

The process

If you have a cast iron casserole, you can do most on the stive top in the casserole dish. If not do the meat and the veg seperately in a pot and them combine them before placing into an oven proof dish and pop into the oven.

Cut the meat into cubes and brown in a little oil on a high heat. Remove and set aside.

Cook the onions and garlic in a little oil until soft, add the meat, and the rest of the ingredients except the herbs and simmer for about 5 minutes.

Place the casserole or the oven proof dish into a preheated oven at 180 celsius for about half an hour. Remove from the oven, add the herbs and give it a good mix. Let it stand for about 10-15 minutes before serving.

Best served with mashed potatoes or rice and some lightly steamed broccoli.

Enjoy folks.

Jam cookies

Jam cookies

jam-cookies

Jam cookies

These were really simple to make, took about 1/2 an hour from start to finish and are just so much better than store bought cookies. People will ask you , “did you really make these?”. Even though they keep well in an airtight container, you will not have to test the theory. These are made with a strawberry jam, but use whichever is your favorite jam.

What you need

80g soft butter
1/3 cup caster sugar
30ml milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla essence
1 cup self raising flour
1/3 cup custard powder
Strawberry jam (about 100g)

The process

Heat the oven to 180 Celsius and line 2 baking sheets with grease proof paper while you prepare the dough.

Place the softened butter and the caster in a bowl and cream together until the mixture is light. You can use an electric beater for this.

Add the milk and vanilla essence, beat with your electric beater on medium to combine well.

Now add the custard powder and flour and mix again into a soft dough.

Take heaped tablespoons of dough, roll them into little balls and place on the baking sheets. Press your thumb or the back of a wooden spoon into the center of each ball to form a small well.

Fill each well with jam and into the oven for 15 minutes or so.

Thats it… remove from the oven and let them cool slightly before transferring to a wire rack.

Perfect scones

Perfect scones

scones

Perfect scones

The secret to great scones is in the handling of the dough, be gentle with it and you will have a perfect batch of light, high scones. They really are simple to make and there is little better than scones straight from the oven, heaped with jam.

What you need

2 ½ cups self raising flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
Pinch of salt
1 tablspoon sugar
40g cold butter cubed
1 cup milk

The process

Heat the oven to 220 Celsius and line a baking tray with grease proof paper by firstly lightly buttering the tray and then sticking the paper to the tray.

In a large bowl, sift in the flour, baking powder and salt, repeat.

Add the butter cubes and with your fingertips, rub the flour and butter together until you get a breadcrumb consistency. Be patient here, you want to be gentle while rubbing.

Now add the sugar and give it a final rub through with your fingers.

Make a well in the center of the mixture and add the milk.

Use a metal knife and with a cutting motion mix in the milk. Rotate the bowl as you cut through the mixture until the dough come together in clumps and be slightly damp.

Flour you hands and a board or kitchen surface, gently gather up the dough, place on the floured surface and pat down with a light hand to about 2cm thick.

Use a floured 6cm round cutter to cut out the scones and place them on the baking tray fairly close together, they will rise up and not much out.

Gather up the bits left over and pat down again for the last 1 or 2 scones.

Brush the tops with milk and place in the top half of the oven for 12 to 15 minutes until the tops are golden and they have risen well.

Delicious, eat straight away.

Chocolate pecan cookies

Chocolate pecan cookies

chocolate-drop-cookies1These are just awesome and the best part is that they take 30 minutes from start to eating. 20 minutes or so to prepare the dough and 10 minutes in the oven. They smell fantastic as while they are baking and you will need to summon every bit of willpower you have to leave them to cool.

What you need

180g soft butter
3/4 cup soft brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
2 eggs beaten
5ml vanilla essence (1 teaspoon)
2 1/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon bicarb of soda
350g chocolate bits
1 cup chopped pecan nuts

The process

Put the oven on to 190 Celsius and line 2 baking trays with grease proof paper.

Add the 2 sugars to a mixing bowl with the soft butter and cream together until light and fluffy, you can use an electric beater.

Add the egg and beat well.

If you are using a beater, put it aside now, get a metal spoon and and add the vanilla essence, stir gently to distribute evenly.

Now sift in the flour and bicard of soda and stir to combine. You don’t want to be vigerous, just mix it in gently until just combined.

Now add the pecans and chocolate bits and stir gently to distribute evenly.

Drop large tablespoons of the mixture onto the baking trays, leaving about 4cm for spreading.

Pop them in the oven for 10 minutes until they are golden brown and the smell is driving you crazy.

Remove from the oven and et them cool for a few minutes, then transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely.

Enjoy them folks, these are really good.

Creamy chicken liver pasta

Creamy chicken liver pasta

creamy-chicken-livers

Chicken liver pasta

Chicken livers and cream make this a really rich pasta sauce that is famous in a Sydney restaurant called Pulcinella. It is really simple to make and very tasty. Don’t even attempt this if you are dieting but if you love a nice rich creamy pasta sauce and have a thing about chicken liver like I do, you are going to be very happy you tried it. (for 2)

What you need

250g chicken livers trimmed and chopped
2 small onions sliced
175ml cream
2 eggs beaten
Salt and pepper
Parmesan cheese
Oil for frying

The process

Add about 3 tablespoons oil to a pan on a medium heat and fry the onions until they begin to brown. Add the chicken livers and cook, stirring until the begin to change colour.

Add the cream and mix to combine and cook for 2 minutes. Add the beaten eggs, stir quickly and remove from heat.

Season with and pepper and add to your favorite cooked pasta and top with finely grated parmesan cheese.

It is very rich so serve with a simple green salad.

Chicken and tomato casserole

Chicken and tomato casserole

chicken-casseroleThis is one of those great recipes that has only a few ingredients and is a winner every time. It has a very distict tomato flavor and goes really well with boiled baby potatoes. (for 4 to 5 people)

What you need

8 skinless chicken thighs
1 tin chopped peeled tomatoes (400g)
1 tin tomato puree (400g)
1 packet onion soup powder
2 teaspoons dried basil
1 small green chili chopped (optional)
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 chicken stock cube

The process

Heat the oven to 180 Celsius.

In the base of a casserole dish, place the chicken pieces.

In a bowl combine the chopped tomatoes, tomato puree, soup powder, chili, basil, vinegar and crumble in the stock cube, give it a stir and pour the whole lot over the chicken pieces.

Place the casserole in the oven for 50 minutes to one hour.

Done and foolproof every time.

Perhaps you’d like to try something like the Kerala country chicken mext time, Authentic indian food made easy.

Pork stroganoff casserole

Pork stroganoff casserole

stroganoff

Pork Stroganoff

This was a real experiment that turned out to be incredibly good and it is really simple. Stroganoff is usually a beef dish but I have been eating a fair amount of pork lately. (for 4 hungry people)

What you need

500g lean pork cut into large bite size pieces
1 onion
2 cloves garlic crushed
½ cup water
1 beef stock cube
250g button mushrooms halved
½ cup sour cream
Parsley to garnish

The process

In a wok or large pan on a medium heat, add a little oil and cook the pork, onion and garlic until the pork is slightly whitened.

Add the water, crumble over the stock cube, stir and simmer for about 10 minutes with the lid on.

Add the mushrooms and simmer for another 10 minutes.

Now add the sour cream and allow to heat through.

That’s it, served with rice or mashed potato, a grind of pepper and a sprinkle of parsley.

Shrimp chowder

Shrimp chowder

chowder

Shrimp chowder

Chowders are rich hearty soups made with seafood like clams, lobster or in this case tinned shrimps. You can also use frozen prawns. It is a fantastic starter or a complete meal served with a salad. (serves 4)

What you need

2 onions finely chopped
2 cloves garlic minced
2 potatoes chopped – about 2cm cubes
2 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
1l hot water
2 chicken stock cubes
Pinch dried thyme
Pinch dried rosemary
1 bay leaf
500ml milk
1 tin shrimps drained or 200g frozen prawns
Palm chopped parsley
Pepper

The process

In a pot on a medium heat, melt the butter and fry the onions and garlic until soft.

Add the flour and stir to form a paste. Add the potatoes, herbs (except the parsley), water and crumble in the stock cube. Stir, cover and simmer for about 15 minutes until the potatoes are soft.

Add the shrimps and milk, bring to the boil, season with pepper, remove from the heat and serve. Sprinkle over the chopped parsley.

Could not be easier and very tasty.

Ribollita

Ribollita

ribollita

Ribollita

This is a traditional Italian soup that uses bread to bulk it up and is really thick, hearty and wholesome. Don’t experiment too much with this one, it’s really good as it is. It’s not what you would expect so if you are planning to have it as a starter, don’t unless your main is not very big, it’s really filling and a great meal all round. (6 people)

What you need

2 onions finely chopped
2 carrots chopped
2 celery sticks finely chopped
1 large clove garlic crushed
Palm of chopped parsley
1 potato chopped
2 large baby marrows chopped
250g spinach washed and chopped
1 tin chopped peeled tomatoes
1/2l water
1 packet tomato soup (powdered)
3 slices bread
Salt and pepper
Oil for frying

The process

Chop up the vegetables that need chopping into 2 cm pieces.

In a pot on a medium heat add the finely chopped onion and garlic, cook until the onion is soft.

Add the rest of the vegetables and cook for about 3 minutes stirring constantly.

Add the water, tomato soup and tin of tomatoes, stir and simmer for about 20 minutes until the vegetables are soft.

Taste and season with salt and pepper, break up the bread, add it to the mixture and simmer on low for another 30 minutes with the lid off stirring occasionally.

Serve straight away with warm crispy bread.