Crispy Oriental Chicken Salad

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Well things in our home have been hectic to say the least! A busy toddler is no joke! But I am trying to get back into getting  bit more creative with the meals I have been making and I am trying hard to find a little time to look for some yummy recipes to share with you. I found this one yesterday and made it last night and it was a real winner! My son has a gluten intolerance so I used gluten free flour to make the whole dish gluten free and it was a hit! Beautiful fresh flavours. I apologise for the quality of the photo – I’ll get better!

Ingredients: 

For the Batter: 

  • 3 Eggs
  • 1.5 cups milk
  • 2 cups flour (I used gluten free flour)
  • 2 cups crushed cornflakes
  • Salt and pepper

For the salad: 

  • 4 – 5 chicken breasts
  • 3 handfuls of baby spinach
  • 1 large carrot, finely Julienne
  • 1 cup red or green baby cabbage, shredded
  • 1/2 cucumber – sliced
  • 60g flaked almonds and 2 chopped spring onions for sprinkling on top
  • Oil for frying

For the dressing: 

  • 6 Tbsp Honey
  • 3 Tbs sushi vinegar (you can use rice wine vinegar)
  • 2 tsp dijon Mustard
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • Splash of sesame oil (half a teaspoon at the most)

Method: 

  1. Put all the dressing ingredients into a little blender and blitz until mixed and put aside.
  2. Mix the egg and milk together in a bowl and then in a separate bowl mix the flour and cornflakes together and season well with salt and pepper.
  3. Slice the chicken into thin strips, then dip each strip into the egg mixture and then into the flour mixture, making sure that it is covered completely.
  4. I used my deep fryer to cook the strips but if you don’t have one then you can use a pot and put enough oil in to deep fry at a relatively high temperature until the coating is a crispy golden brown. Drain on kitchen towel. You will need to probably do the chicken in batches.
  5. Mix all your salad greens and bits in a bowl or separate bowls for each person, place the chicken strips on top and then sprinkle with the almonds and spring onions. Finally dress the salad with that yummy dressing! ENJOY!
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Pork Belly Kebabs

 

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We recently had a kebab cook off  as a team building exercise which was loads of fun! Being a competition I immediately started researching for something different, something fresh and unique to blow the competition away. (Im not competitive at all *coughs*) Anyway…. I came across these kebabs on the Food24 website and the ingredients immediately stood out for me. Our team agreed and so we went about preparing these little beauties and braaied (barbecued) them. Constantly basting with the marinade.

I was nervous about cooking the pork belly in a new way as I have only ever slow cooked pork belly. But they turned out beautifully and the soy, honey, ginger, garlic, chilli flavours worked SO well with this cut! My husband said it was the best kebab he has ever had. I think he might just be very excited that I have started cooking properly again after a few months off! But they were really good!

Definitely use the reduced sodium or light soya as they can be quite salty if you don’t.

oh, and I know you are wondering… yes – we WON!

  • 1kg pork belly, bone and skin removed but with some fat left
  • 8-10 kebab sticks

For the Marinade:

  • 150ml reduced salt or light soy sauce
  • 100ml water
  • 3 cloves garlic, mashed
  • 3 Tbsp Honey
  • 2 Tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 thumb fresh ginger, peeled and finely grated
  • 1 fresh chilli, chopped (optional)
  • 1 lemon grass stem, bruised

For garnish:

  • Chopped spring onions and toasted sesame seeds

 

Method:

Slice the pork belly in 1cm thick and 5cm long slices.
Make the marinade by whisking all the ingredients except the lemon grass stem.
Pour the marinade over the pork belly, add the lemon grass stem and let it marinate in the fridge for at least 6 hours or overnight.
Remove the pork from the marinade and thread the strips on the kebab sticks.
Grill on a griddle pan or on the barbecue turning on each side until cooked through. Garnish with the chopped spring onions and the toasted sesame seeds.

 

 

Photo and recipe from Food24.com

Pork Fillet with Roast Crushed Baby Potatoes, Prosciutto and Balsamic Dressing

 

Pork Fillet with potatoes and balsamic dressing

I’m halfway through my pregnancy and the first trimester pretty much obliterated my desire to cook! Last night I was desperate for some ‘proper’ and interesting food and found this recipe on the Taste website. It was very easy and pretty quick to make with a really fantastic result. The pork fillet turned out beautifully and tender and the combination of proscuitto, rocket, balsamic vinegar, whole grain mustard and red onion is such a winner.  My poor family have obviously been a bit deprived of tasty food and devoured it! I will definitely make this again! Its absolutely divine!  Enjoy!

 

2 tablespoons olive oil

Leaves from 1 large sprig rosemary

4 garlic cloves, sliced

750g piece pork fillet, trimmed

500g baby potatoes

1 red onion, cut into wedges

4 slices prosciutto

Rocket leaves, to serve

 

Balsamic dressing

2 1/2 tablespoons olive oil

1 1/2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

1 teaspoon grainy mustard

 

Method

  • Preheat the oven to 190°C.
  • Mix 1 tablespoon of the olive oil with the rosemary leaves and sliced garlic.
  • Brush a little over the pork fillet.
  • Par-boil the potatoes for 10 – 15 minutes, then drain and lightly crush. Toss the potatoes and onion wedges with the remaining garlic and rosemary oil, then place on a large baking tray and roast in the oven for 25 minutes, turning occasionally.
  • Meanwhile, heat the remaining olive oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the pork filet and cook for 2-3 minutes, turning to brown all over.
  • Season well with salt and pepper.
  • Remove the pork and add to the baking tray with the potatoes and onion, and roast for the remaining cooking time (20 minutes). For the final 5 minutes, add the slices of prosciutto to the tray to crisp.
  • While everything is cooking, make the dressing. Place the olive oil, balsamic and mustard in a jar and season with salt and pepper. Shake well.
  • To serve, place some rocket onto each plate and divide the potatoes and onion among them. Slice the pork thickly, place on top and drizzle with the balsamic dressing. Place a shard of crisp prosciutto on top of each.

Serves 3 – 4

Recipe and photo from the Taste.au website.

Lentil ‘Tabbouleh’

Lentil Tabbouleh

This recipe is another winner from my cooking guru, Rene. I just love her food. Its always, always packed with fresh ingredients and full of amazing flavour and her ability to pair flavours together is remarkable! Sigh, I have such a long way to go!

Tabbouleh is a middle eastern salad that is usually made with bulgar or cous cous which you can totally substitute here for the lentils. I really like that this one has lentils as they are so much better for you and packed with protein.

Please adhere to the last step which is to let it sit  for at least 1 hour before serving as the flavours need to develop. Its well worth it! Its a great side to some baked fish or even chicken breasts or serve it as a salad at a braai. So yummy! Thanks Rene! xx

1 tin lentils, well rinsed and drained

3 cups flat leaf parsley, coarsely chopped

1/2 cup fresh mint, coarsely chopped

1/2 pack Ina Paarman  sundried tomato quarters, chopped

1 red onion, finely chopped

2 spring onions, finely chopped

125 ml olive oil (I used half of this to be a bit more ‘fat conscious and it worked perfectly, just halve the lemon juice as well if you are reducing the oil)

125 ml fresh lemon juice

2 discs feta cheese, crumbled

  • Place all ingredients in a large bowl.
  • Season to taste.
  • Mix gently and allow to stand for at least 1 hour before serving.

 

Recipe by Rene Kairuz

 

Chimichurri Chicken with Mexican Brown Rice

Chicken Chimichurri and Mexican Brown Rice

I’m on a serious health kick at the moment! I’m delving into the unknown world of lentils and chickpeas and beans! I must say I have really enjoyed feeling good and eating clean and knowing that my body is thanking me for what I am putting in and not groaning in desperation with all the work that I usually make it do!

I have been pleasantly surprised by the really great recipes out there with healthy ingredients. Previously when I wanted to eat healthy I would end up dying of boredom just a few weeks in and revert to tastier (unhealthier) options. But I am happy to say that I will be trying some really healthy (interesting) recipes that are full of wonderful flavours and popping them onto the blog for your enjoyment too!

I made this last night and was delighted with how it turned out. If you are watching your fat intake then go easier on the chimichurri on your serving, but otherwise it is packed with gorgeous flavours and so so good for you!

The mexican rice is so fresh and tastes really authentic! If you are a coriander fan, I would throw some in the mix here too as I think it will add a lovely punch. although it actually doesn’t need it!

Just a tip if you are not used to cooking brown rice. The brown basmati is divine and it takes an extra 10 minutes to cook. So bear that in mind.

ENJOY!

For the Chimichurri:

2 packets (60g) Italian Flat Leaf Parsley

½ Packet (15g) oreganum

4 garlic cloves

3 Tbsp (45 mls) white balsamic vinegar

1 – 2 tsp (5 – 10mls) dried chilli flakes

½ cup (125ml) olive oil

Salt and milled pepper

 

4 fresh chicken skinless filleted breasts, flattened

1 cup (25oml) brown basmati rice, cooked

1 tsp (5ml) cumin seeds

2 spring onions, finely chopped

½ small can (17-g) corn kernels drained and rinsed

1 packet (350g) mixed cherry tomatoes, halved

1 can (400g) kidney beans, drained and rinsed

 

  • Blitz chimichurri ingredients together until smooth. Reserve half and pour remaining mixture over chicken breasts. Refrigerate, covered for 30 minutes.
  • Toss the rice with the cumin, spring onions, corn, tomatoes, kidney beans and seasoning.
  • Heat a griddle pan, drain excess marinade from chicken and cook for about 7 minutes on each side or until charred and cooked through.
  • Serve chicken with rice, reserved chimichurri and lime wedges.

 

Serves 4

Recipe and Photo from the Fresh Living Magazine

Sweet and Sticky Asian-Style Lamb Rib Chops

 

Sweet and Sticky, aisian style lamb chops pic

Ok so this one will take you a while. You need about 4 hours to make this dish. Its definitely a Sunday lunch or Saturday evening dinner. But it is totally worth it. The slow braise ensures tender, fall off the bone meat that is sticky and lick your fingers good and the flavours are beautifully balanced and just gorgeous! Its a goodie!

Enjoy!

Braise:

1/3kg thick lamb rib chops (stewing chops)

4 garlic cloves, crushed

4cm knob ginger, sliced

1 onion, roughly chopped

¼ cup (60ml) brown sugar

1 stick cinnamon

4 star anise

4 cloves

2 tsp (10ml) each fennel and cumin seeds

2 cups (500ml) Chinese rice wine or dry sherry

½ cup (125ml) soy sauce

Glaze:

¼ cup (60ml) oyster sauce

¼ cup (60ml) hoisin sauce

 

For serving:

Spring onions, sliced

2 long red chillies, sliced

Fresh coriander

Steamed white rice

 

  • Preheat oven to 180 C.
  • Place lamb and all the braise ingredients in a roasting pan and add just enough water to cover, if necessary.
  • Cover with foil and braise for 2 – 3 hours or until tender.
  • Remove meat from liquid and place in a roasting pan. Increase oven temperature to 220 C and roast meat until browned and sticky, about 10 minutes.
  • Mix the oyster and hoisin sauces together and brush over meat.
  • Cook lamb chops for a further 5 minutes.
  • Serve ribs scattered with spring onions, chilli and coriander with sticky rice on the side.

 

Serves 4

Recipe and photo from the Fresh Living Magazine.

New Potato Salad

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This recipe idea is from a friend of mine who did something similar. Its such a great take on potato salad and really livens up what can be a somewhat boring and done to death salad!

500g baby potatoes but in half lengthways

1/3 cup tangy mayonnaise

1/3 cup creamy mayonnaise

1 cup cooked corn (either frozen or cut off the cob)

1/2 cup red onion, finely diced

1 garlic clove, crushed

5 spring onions, finely sliced

2 boiled eggs (optional) – cut into quarters

salt and pepper to taste

 

– Place the potatoes in cold water and bring them up to the boil and boil them until soft (but not falling apart)

– Drain and cool

– Mix the mayonnaise together and add the red onion, garlic, salt and pepper. Mix into the potatoes. Add the corn and fold through the salad gently.

– sprinkle with the spring onions, garnish with boiled eggs and serve.

 

 

Watermelon, Feta and Black Olive Salad

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I’ve seen a few recipes for watermelon salad and it made me quite curious! I made this one by Nigella the other night as a side dish to some Chicken thighs that I cooked with chinese 5 – spice and sweet chili sauce, sesame seeds and rice noodles.  It worked beautifully together. You may be hesitant to try black olives, feta and red onion with watermelon!! But it’s a fantastic combination 🙂  The little trick with soaking red onions in lime (or lemon juice) works brilliantly if you want to add red onion to any salad. I will use that trick for the rest of my life! 🙂

1 small red onion

4 limes

1.5 kilograms watermelon (sweet and ripe)

250 grams feta cheese

1 bunch fresh flatleaf parsley

1 bunch fresh mint (chopped)

4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

100 grams pitted black olives

black pepper

  • Peel and halve the red onion and cut into very fine half-moons and put in a small bowl to steep with the lime juice, to bring out the transparent pinkness in the onions and diminish their rasp. Two limes’ worth should do it, but you can find the fruits disappointingly dried up and barren when you cut them in half, in which case add more.
  • Remove the rind and pips from the watermelon, and cut into approximately 4cm / 1½ inch triangular chunks, if that makes sense (maths is not my strong point). Cut the feta into similar sized pieces and put them both into a large, wide shallow bowl. Tear off sprigs of parsley so that it is used like a salad leaf, rather than a garnish, and add to the bowl along with the chopped mint.
  • Tip the now glowingly puce onions, along with their pink juices over the salad in the bowl, add the oil and olives, then using your hands toss the salad very gently so that the feta and melon don’t lose their shape. Add a good grinding of black pepper and taste to see whether the dressing needs more lime.

Recipe by Nigella

The photo is mine

Peanut Satay Pork Rice Paper Rolls

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Delicious little rolls that are healthy and taste great!  The nice thing about these is that you can put just about anything in them! mine change all the time. I made these on Saturday for a picnic which worked so well! I packed them into little containers and they were the perfect picnic treat.

For the wraps:

1 x 500g pork fillet

1 tsp chinese 5 spice

20 rice paper discs

1 red baby cabbage (thinly sliced)

3 carrots (finely julienned)

1 punnet watercress (torn up)

1 packet of baby spinach (torn up)

100g almond flakes

100g dried coconut shavings

3 tbs sesame seeds

Sesame oil

For the Satay sauce

2 Tbsp oil

3 garlic cloves, finely chopped

1 tsp dried chilli flakes (or fresh chili)

60ml peanut butter

80ml Hoisin Sauce

2 Tbsp brown sugar

1 cup coconut cream or milk (I used the coconut milk – way less fattening)

2 tbsp rice wine vinegar

 

  • To make the sauce, heat the oil in a small saucepan and fry the garlic and chilli. Combine the rest of the ingredients and add to  the saucepan. Stir over medium heat for about 2 – 3 minutes. Set aside to cool.
  • While the sauce is cooling, take a clean dry frying pan and on a medium to high heat, toast your almond and coconut flakes until golden brown. (stirring constantly) Remove from the heat and allow to cool.
  • Finely slice the pork fillet, season with salt, pepper and the chinese 5 spice. Heat some sesame oil in a frying pan. When hot, add the pork and stir fry quickly until JUST done! Add about half a cup of the sauce when it is done, mix it up and remove from the heat and place into a separate bowl so that it can cool down.
  • Get a casserole dish wide enough to fit a rice paper disc in and fill it with warm  (not boiling) water
  • Place a clean, dry towel on your work surface. You need at least half a bath towel worth of space… I hope that makes sense.
  • One at a time, place a rice paper disc in the warm water and wait about a minute until it is soft, take it out and place it flat on the towel for a few seconds, then fold in half, but slightly more on the side resting on the towel (look at the pictures below).
  • When you have done that to 10 discs you can fill them.  Mix the carrots, cabbage, spinach and watercress together in a bowl  and place a little of that veg mixture on each half moon shaped rice paper disc. Then put a little of the almond and coconut flakes on.

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  • Next, take some of the pork mixture and place this on top of the almonds, coconut and veg mixture.

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  • Now you can roll these babies!
  • Fold the bottom section (the curved side) up over the mixture (it will just go over the bottom bit of mixture)
  • Then take the left side and fold it over the mixture and roll from left to right over the ’empty flap’ until you get a roll resembling this:

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  • The rice paper is pretty sticky (it’s amazing stuff) and will stick to itself so as soon as you have completed the roll, the rice paper will seal itself. EASY PEASY!
  • Continue with this process until all your rolls are done and you can then pack them up for a picnic or serve them on a platter with a little bowl of your satay dipping sauce. (which is missing from my photo – sorry)

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They are quite cute and can stand up by themselves, making your plating fun and interesting.

Feel free to change it up! you can put fillings in like sweet chilli chicken with cabbage dressed in olive oil, soy sauce and white wine vinegar and some sugar (see my oriental cabbage salad recipe)  or you can do Pork with plain hoisin sauce and some lettuce, carrots and cucumber… ah – just use your imagination. Its endless really!

Enjoy

Serves 4 – 5

Seared Asian Tuna, Coconut Rice and Jiggy Jiggy Greens

Seared Tuna, coconut rice and jiggy jiggy hreens0002

Another one from the fabulous Jamie Oliver! This recipe has rocketed right to the top of my favourites list!

WOW. . .

It was date night on Saturday and I wanted to make my husband something delicious and special for dinner without having to spend hours in the kitchen! (not on date night! come on!) I had planned to do this meal as it seemed to tick all the boxes. It was quick, easy and man oh man…. the flavours!  We were in heaven. The beautiful freshness of the grapefruit juice adds something amazing and the green tea (strange I know) and sesame crust is just to die for.

What a treat!! I just can not recommend this one enough….

Rice

1 x 400g tin light coconut milk

1 x coconut tin (300g) of basmati rice or jasmin rice

1 lime

Tuna

1 x 450g piece of yellowfin tuna steak

2 x green tea bags

1 tbsp black and white sesame seeds (mixed)

Olive oil

Pickled ginger

2 spring onions

1 fresh red chilli

The juice of 1 small pink grapefruit

low salt soy sauce

½ bunch fresh coriander

Greens

2 bok choi

1 large bunch of asparagus (300g)

200g tenderstem broccoli

2 tsp sesame oil, plus extra to serve

3 cloves garlic

1 tbsp teriyaki sauce

  • Pour the coconut milk, 1 tins worth of rice and 1 tin of boiling water into a small pan. Season with salt and pepper, stir well, cover and cook for roughly 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, then turn the heat off.
  • Halve the tuna lengthways, then empty the contents of the tea bags on to a board with the sesame seeds and a pinch of salt and pepper. Roll and press the tuna in the flavours to coat, then put in the frying pan with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Sear for about 40 seconds on each side, then remove to a plate, leaving the pan on the heat.
  • Halve the bok choi, then finely slice in a food processor with the trimmed asparagus and broccoli.
  • Put the sesame oil into the frying pan and turn the heat up to high. Squash in the unpeeled garlic through a garlic crusher, then tip in the sliced greens. Toss and move around for 2 minutes, then season to taste with Teriyaki Sauce and remove from heat.
  • Arrange pieces of pickled ginger around a serving platter and about a tablespoon of the juice.
  • Finely slice the trimmed spring onions and chilli and sprinkle over the top.
  • Squeeze over the grapefruit juice and season to taste.
  • Slice the tuna 1cm thick and place on the dressing, drizzle with a little soy sauce, then sprinkle with coriander leaves and a few dribbles  of sesame oil.
  • Serve with the rice, lime wedges and greens.

Serves 4

Recipe and photo by Jamie Oliver