Adam Liaw’s Lemon Chicken!!

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Yay! finally have the computer back!

When I was little and we went out for a special dinner it was always Chinese food. Especially if I went out with my Grandparents. As I got older we started to expand our taste in Asian foods (probably as more became available) to Thai, Japanese, Malaysian Korean etc.

When I say Chinese, I mean Westernized Cantonese food which is prolific in Australia, in every shopping center food court and local take away shop. Things like lemon and honey chicken, special  fried rice, fried dim sims and sweet and sour pork.

We now have really high quality Cantonese and other regional Chinese food available, but sometimes, I still crave my lemon chicken and special fried rice. I got some the other day from the local take away. It was a DISAPPOINTMENT! The chicken was dry and the sauce tasted like lemon cordial. Yuk. I wasted so many calories!

Then I was flicking through the July issue of the Australian Women Weekly and it featured a lemon chicken recipe by Adam Liaw (winner of the of second series of Australian Master Chef). So I had a go at making my own. It was YUMMY. I was a scared of frying at home, I usually avoid it, but the chicken was tender and crisp! The sauce was beautifully lemony and balanced! Give it a go…

Ingredients:

400g Chicken breast

2 egg whites

oil of choice, to shallow fry

1/2 cup of corn flour ( he recommends water-chestnut flour if you can get it)

white rice to serve

Marinade

1 tbs of light soy sauce

1/4 tsp of sesame oil

1/4 tsp of sea salt flakes

1 tbs of Shaoxiang wine (Chinese cooking wine, it you can’t find this use dry sherry)

Lemon Sauce

1/4 cup of caster sugar

1/4 cup of white vinegar

zest and juice of one lemon

1/2 cup of chicken stock

2 tsp of cornflour or arrowroot

1 small julienned carrot

3 green onions, julienned

Steps.

1. Combine all marinade ingredients in a shallow dish.

2. Between two sheets of plastic wrap, beat chicken softly to a uniform thickness of 1.5 to 2 cm. Place in dish with marinade, coat well and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

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3. Heat 2 cm of oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Beat the egg whites until fluid and frothy. Dip chicken in egg white, then into flour. Fry for 3 -4 minutes or until golden. Turn and fry for a further 3 minutes or until brown and cooked through. Drain chicken on paper towel. Repeat with remaining chicken, be careful not to over crowd the pan, as this will drop the temperature and result in soggy oily chicken.

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Sauce

Combine sugar, vinegar, zest, juice and stock in a pot over  medium heat. Bring to a simmer stirring, to dissolve sugar. Mix the arrowroot or corn flour with a little cold water and stir into the sauce. Cook stirring for about one minute, or until clear and glossy. Add the carrot and onion, cook to 30 secs to soften.

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To Serve

Slice chicken into 2.5 cm strips. Arrange on plate, scatter with some chopped green onion, serve with rice and sauce.

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Txx

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Bacon and Egg Filo Pie – with Onion Jam

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I was really craving bacon and egg pie. Although, filo is lighter than other pastries this is NOT a lighter recipe.

It does contain lots of yummy things though, eggs, bacon, cheese and onion!

The filo and use of a loaf pan makes for easy assembly of the pie.

It can be served hot or cold, and can make a good breakfast, brunch, lunch, or dinner dish.

I found this recipe on the website of the TV show everyday gourmet http://www.everydaygourmet.tv/recipes/352.

In this version, I added the onion jam I posted previously https://teagzteagz.files.wordpress.com/2013/06/img_1542.jpg , and used some mayonnaise in place of the sour cream, as I forgot to buy it. I would recommend using the sour cream, the mayonnaise made it a little to rich. I also didn’t use any fresh  herbs, but the chives used in the original recipes or parsley would be lovely.

To make this healthier, use less and leaner bacon, or ham, or replace bacon with some spinach or tomato. You could also use low fat cheese and reduce the amount.

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Ingredients:

50g butter, melted
7 sheets of thick filo pastry
9 pieces of thin streaky bacon
10 eggs
Salt and pepper
200g cheddar, grated
50g mayonnaise

1 portion of onion jam
Juice and zest of ½ lemon

Steps.

1. Pre heat the oven to 190C. Grease the bottom of a loaf tin and line with one sheet of filo pastry, allowing excess pastry to runoff the edges. Repeat 5 times, lightly brushing each time with the melted butter.

2.Fry the bacon until golden brown, drain.

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3. Place three pieces of the bacon in the filo lined tin. Crack the eggs into a bowl and season with salt pepper. Whisk, just to break up the egg yolks. Pour half of this mixture into tin, followed by another three pieces of bacon.

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4. In another bowl combine  cheddar, mayonnaise and lemon. Place on top of bacon, top with the onion jam and then add the remaining egg mixture. Finish with the last three pieces of bacon. Cover with the remaining buttered filo pastry and seal by crimping the edges to form a pie. Brush with a little butter.

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5. Bake in the oven for 35-40 minutes. Once cooked allow to cool slightly before removing from the tin.

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Maggie Beers Roast Pork Loin and Apple Sauce and Roast Potatos

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I really like watching Maggie Beer cook, however, I rarely make any of her recipes. I think because they often involve verjuice or some ‘other harder than usual to find ingredient’, that I would have to make a special trip to purchase.

I love that she showcases local and seasonal produce.

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But when I saw this one on the latest season of Masterchef, I had to give it a go. It was a real ‘Sunday lunch’ or special ‘Family dinner’ recipe.

I didn’t have verjuice, so I used apple cider vinegar in the apple sauce and left it out pouring it over the pork. I also didn’t make the cavolo nero, but served it with some steamed zucchini

I won’t re-write the recipe here, here is the link to the Masterchef recipe. http://www.masterchef.com.au/recipes/berkshire-pork-loin-with-cavolo-nero-and-apple-sauce.htm

This was not a complete success, as I didn’t have time to let the pork ‘dry’ overnight, I left it for about five hours, and the pork was already scored, but not at the 1cm intervals suggested. So, only part of my pork skin turned into beautiful crackling :(.

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The use of apples and grapes was wonderful with the pork, and as always with Maggie’s recipes, it really uses the best of season produce. This is a good apple sauce recipe, using a beurre noisette really deepens the flavors.

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I will include my recipe for crispy roast potatoes here.

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Serves 4.

6 medium Kestrel Potatoes (or any good roasting potatoes)

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salt and pepper

I clove of garlic minced

1 tbs of melted butter

1 tbs of olive oil.

1.  Preheat oven to 180c. Halve the potatoes. Add the potatoes to cold salted water in a large saucepan. Heat on high, bring to the boil and boil for about 10 minutes. You  want the potatoes to be partially cooked, but not falling apart. Drain and allow to steam dry in a colander.

2. Meanwhile, mix the remaining ingredients in bowl.

3. When cool enough to handle, use a knife to cut diagonal lines in the top of the potatoes, repeat in the opposite direction to create a cross hatch pattern. Do not cut all the way through.

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4. Place potatoes, on a lines baking tray. Using a basting brush, paint the potatoes with the butter mixture.

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5. Cook in oven for 30 to 40 minutes, or until golden and crispy.

Give her method of getting the perfect crackling a go,  and let me know how it turns out.

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White Winter Soup and a Beautiful Cookbook

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I wanted to share one of my favorite cookbooks. Its called ‘She’s leaving home’ by Monica Trapaga. Who Aussies will know as a children entertainer on the TV show Play School.

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This book is a collection of recipes  from her family and friends complied for her daughter when she moved out of home. It is a BEAUTIFUL book filled with recipes from around the globe and comfort food. It is beautifully illustrated not with pictures but the collages made from pictures, objects and materials, and photographed.

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I brought it a few years ago, so I’m not sure if its still available in stores but if you see it you should buy it! I love looking at it!

As it is winter here, I have shared one of her soup recipes. I have written the recipe as it is in the book however, I made the following change: I couldn’t get marjoram, I used lite cream instead of sour and used a hand blender to make a smoother soup and added Parmesan to serve. This is a lovely change from pumpkin or potato soups.

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Ingredients:

25g butter

2 tbs  of olive oil

2 large white onions or trimmed and washed leeks, chopped ( I used onions)

3 large parsnips, peeled and  finely diced ( I used four smaller ones)

2 cloves of garlic

pinch of sugar

3 sticks of celery, chopped

4 cups of chicken, vegetable or beef stock

2 large potatoes, chopped into small cubes

Salt and black pepper

2 tbs of fresh marjoram, plus extra to serve

sour cream to serve

1. In a large stockpot with a lid, melt the butter with the olive oil over low heat. Add the onion or leek and cook for about 10 mins to caramelize. Add the parsnips, garlic ad sugar, season with salt and pepper and cook for 5 mins or so.

2. Add the celery and just enough of the stock to cover the vegetables, then increase heat to high and bring to the boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 5 mins, then add the potatoes and simmer for 10 minutes.

3. Add the cauliflower, the rest of the stock and the marjoram, partially cover the pot with lid and simmer on low heat for about 2 hours.

4. Taste and season to taste, then lightly mash with a potato masher chunky texture ( as mentioned above I blitzed mine with a hand blender to make a smooth soup. Serve with some cream, chopped marjoram.

Burning Butter

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Who knew that burning butter could make a delicious sauce!

But obviously, a sauce composed almost entirely of butter is a sometimes food.

I believe the milk solids in the butter burn, leaving the brown specks you can see in the pan. This creates a rich nutty flavor.

You can add many different herbs and nuts and other things to the sauce as you wish (in summer Basil works well).  The herb fries, making it a little crunchy. Here I have used sage and pecans.

I have served it here with some frozen cheats pumpkin and ricotta ravioli (made with gow gee wrappers, recipe by Donna Hay), when I make then again I will post the recipe.  The traditional french version of this sauce beurre noisette can be served with with vegetables (nice with swede mash), fish, egg dishes and chicken.  It can also be used to add a special nutty flavor to some baked goods (madeleines, financiers and I’ve sen it used in an ice-cream).

Warning: If you take the butter to far it may cook too much and become  a different sauce beurre noir (this usually has an acid added)or just burnt, and if under cooked it will be well, just melted butter, it may take a few goes to get it perfect.

Ingredients: (Serves 4)

100gs butter

1/3 cup of sage leaves

hand full of pecans

Place butter in a small fry pan over medium-low heat. Cook for 3-4 minutes or until butter just starts to turn brown. Add sage and cook for 1 minute or until crisp. Remove sage from pan with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towel. Reduce heat to low, add nuts, and continue to cook the butter until golden brown. Serve over your dish!

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Spaghetti Aglio E Olio – spaghetti with garlic and olive oil

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This is as simple, easy and cheap as a recipe can get!

It is also one of my favorites, a real  Italian comfort food!

It great when I’m cooking for myself, or have to come up with a late dinner.

But as it uses so few ingredients you really have to use good quality pasta and olive oil (and cheese if using).

It can be as basic as, pasta, oil, garlic and salt, however can be customized to your taste and to what you have in the pantry.https://teagzteagz.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=309&action=edit

  • I like to add chilli (I use a fresh chilli, though I read that dry chilli flakes are traditional)
  • I like to add chopped parsley at the end (but you can leave it out, or use another herb).
  • I like to add Parmesan to serve (apparently traditionally cheese should NOT be used)
  • I sometimes use some crisp fried prosciutto to serve, as I’ve done here.
  • At other times I have added tuna, crispy croutons or crumbs, rocket, spinach, baby kale etc, the choice is yours!

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Ingredients: (4 t0 6 serves)

500g of pasta (I used Barilla Spagettini)

1/2 a cup of good olive oil

5 garlic cloves, finely chopped (or to your taste)

1 red chilli , finely sliced

1/2 cup finely chopped parsley

6 slices of prosciutto

salt

Parmesan to serve

  1. Fill a large pot with cold water, add salt and bring to the boil
  2. Meanwhile, add garlic, chilli and oil to a fry pan. Put on lowest  heat (allow to cook until pasta is ready, if garlic begins to brown take pan off heat).
  3. When water is boiling, add pasta and cook according to packet directions or until ‘al dente’.
  4. While pasta is cooking, fry prosciutto in a fry pan, until crisp. Drain on paper towel, and crumble.
  5.  When cooked, drain pasta, reserving 1/2 a cup of the paste water.
  6. Return pasta to hot pot, add oil mixture and parsley, stir to combine well, making sure all pasta is coated with oil.
  7. To serve, add paste to bowl, top with a piece of crumbled prosciutto and Parmesan to taste.

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Tx.

What to cook when you really don’t want to cook??

It’s rare but there are times when I’m to tired or just can’t be bothered cooking. The other night I really didn’t want to cook.

I went to the supermarket and walked around not knowing what to get, I decided to get a hot chicken. Then thought I felt like pasta. I remembered I found a jar of red pesto when i clean out the pantry the other week. So I thought I would get some mushroom, and toss everything together for an easy meal.

But when I got home the pesto was gone!

I don’t know what happened to it, but now I had to make some. Luckily, I also found a packet of sun dried tomatoes in the pantry.

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Honestly, the hardest part of this was cleaning the food processor, but as you can tell by the quality of the last photo I was over cooking and photo taking, but the dish was tasty in the end!

Also the pesto could be used as a dip, or spread for sandwiches or bruschetta.

(I had no Parmesan in the fridge, added some to the pesto is traditional, but it was nice without)

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Ingredients (serves 6)

pesto

200gs of sun dried tomatoes (I used fat free, but tomatoes packed in oil would be fine, you will just need less oil later)

about 150gs of black olives pitted

large handful of parsley (basil would also work)

3 cloves of garlic (use less or more to taste)

handful of  nuts (pine nuts are traditional, I used Brazil because that what I’s had, but any nut would work )

Good olive oil

Pasta

500gs pasta of your choice (I used penne)

250 grams Swiss brown mushrooms sliced

1 red onion finely chopped

200gs frozen baby peas

1 breast of a roasted chicken shredded

salt

  1. Fill a large put of water, add a few tbsp of salt and heat on high until boiling
  2. Put pesto ingredients (except oil) in a food processor
  3. Process on high for a few pulses, and then start to drizzle in oil as you possess until you get a consistency you are happy with, remember you can add some pasta water at the end to thin it out  a little.
  4. When water is boiling, add pasta and cook until al dente.
  5. Meanwhile, saute onion until translucent, and mushrooms and cook until soft, add peas and turn off heat, stir to combine. The residual heat will cook the peas.
  6. Drain pasta when done, reserving half a cup of the water. Combine pasta, water, chicken, pesto and onion mixture back in the hot cooking pot. Season and serve.

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