Bacon and eggs. Need I say more?
Thursday, February 27, 2014
Saturday, February 22, 2014
When it comes to cold weather eats, there's pretty much nothing better than a good bowl of soup. Well, at least as far as I'm concerned. And I'm not fussy, no, pretty much any soup will do.
This particular concoction is something I made up on the fly a few years back, and has since settled itself comfortably onto mine and Mr B's list of winter staples. And now, with temperatures finally on the decline here in Melbourne, it seems as good a time as any to bust out a few old favourites.
This soup is not only tasty, super easy and quick to put together, it keeps well in the freezer too – perfect for those cold and lazy nights when you're craving something warming without any hassle.
800g (2 tins) brown lentils, rinsed and drained
1 large brown onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 long red chilli, finely chopped
2 sticks celery, diced
1 carrot, peeled and diced
1 zucchini, diced
125g rindless free-range bacon, diced (omit for a vegetarian option)
1L chicken or vegetable stock
Sea salt and cracked black pepper
In a large heavy-based pot heat a tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat and cook off the onion, garlic, chilli and bacon, until the bacon is just beginning to brown. Add the celery, carrot and zucchini and cook until the vegetables begin to soften slightly.
Pour in the rinsed lentils and stock, season well with salt and pepper and bring it up to the boil. Turn the heat down to a simmer straight away (don't let it keep boiling), then cover with a lid and allow to gently simmer for 45 - 60 minutes.
Serve it up with your favourite crusty bread. Yum!
Thursday, February 13, 2014
If you're after a quick and easy meal you really can't go past a fresh garden salad paired with some sort of protein. It's always my go-to option after a long day, and the best part is you can be as creative, or as simple as you like with your salad ingredients.
This particular version featured crisp mixed greens with finely sliced radishes, red capsicum, cucumber and spring onions, topped off with crumbled feta cheese. Dressed simply with olive oil and lemon juice, it proved to be a rather delicious companion for a grilled chicken breast.
So tell me, what are your favourite salad combinations?
Thursday, February 6, 2014
I've been to Belle's a few times now, and whilst I think it's great, I do consider it to be one of those 'special treat' kind of venues, what with all the burgers and fried chicken ready to tempt me. But that all changed last weekend.
Mr B was hanging out for said fried chicken (and it appeared nothing else was going to hit the spot) so I agreed, despite my prior intentions for a healthy lunch. As you can imagine I was pleasantly surprised to spy a new addition to the menu—a mixed grain salad of wild rice, farro and quinoa—so I went with that, and Mr B got his chicken. Happy days!
My salad was just what I wanted — light, fresh and totally delicious, brimming with crunchy walnuts and creamy feta. The light fennel dressing could have had a hint more fennel flavour, but otherwise no complaints at all. I'm still not entirely sure if this is a permanent addition to the menu, but I certainly hope so.
Mr B's chicken was (as always) crispy-fried to perfection and served with a side of homemade barbecue sauce. Paired with a frosty glass of Mountain Goat Steam Ale and a bowl of smoky fries, how could he go wrong? Pretty much the perfect Saturday!
150 Gertrude St
Fitzroy VIC 3065
Friday, January 31, 2014
I just can't say enough good things about this slow chicken recipe. And, as you can probably tell by my last post, I also can't say enough good things about Mexican food. Give me ALL the tacos.
I used to always cook slow-beef (and still do on occasion), however since I discovered the wonder that is fennel seeds, I pretty much always go with chicken. And I have Jamie Oliver to thank for that little gem. Thank you Jamie, thank you very much.
Unfortunately it's kind of difficult to make stewed-anything look pretty, but I can assure that in this instance looks are most definitely deceiving. This little bowl of stringy chicken goodness is sure to make your tastebuds dance with joy.
500g skinless free range chicken thighs
1 red onion, finely sliced
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 tsp (heaped) sweet smoked paprika
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp 'piri piri' seasoning (a dried spice mix of chilli flakes, lemon peel, garlic and salt)
1.5 cups chicken stock
Sea salt and ground black pepper
2 tbsp olive oil
Heat oil in a heavy-based casserole dish over medium-high heat, add the onions, garlic and spices and saute until the onions begin to soften slightly. Add the chicken thighs in whole and cook for 10-12 minutes or until they begin to colour. Season with salt and pepper then add the chicken stock and mix well—scraping any spices from the bottom of the pan—then cover and reduce to a simmer.
Allow the chicken to cook for at least an hour, then test it with a couple of forks to see if the meat strings apart. If it's still a bit tough or 'together', let it cook for another 30 minutes or so. It's actually a little hard to overcook this, so don't be too worried about that! You should be rewarded with beautifully spiced chicken and just enough sauce to keep it juicy when served.
I like to serve mine with warmed mini tortillas, shredded cos lettuce and finely grated cheese. Though the cheese is really an unnecessary addition, but hey, you only live once. And of course, don't forget the chilli sauce and sour cream!
This recipe makes enough chicken for around 8 soft tacos.
Friday, January 24, 2014
I love experimenting with salads—there are so many options—and this one turned out to be a real winner. Think tacos, without the shell! The contrast of the charred, warm chicken against the crisp, fresh salad was to die for, and not only did it taste great, it looked pretty special on the plate too. Another one to add to my 'easy weeknight' collection for sure.
This recipe makes enough for 2 large salad bowls.
1 chicken breast, diced into 1cm pieces
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp (heaped) sweet smoked paprika
1 tsp dried chilli flakes
1 pinch each sea salt and ground black pepper
1 tbsp olive oil
1 baby cos lettuce, shredded
1 avocado, diced
1/2 punnet cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered
1 small cucumber, diced
200g sweet corn kernels
Olive oil spray
Coriander leaves, salsa and sour cream to serve
Place the chicken, paprika, fennel seeds, chilli flakes, salt, pepper and olive oil in a bowl and toss until the chicken is well coated. Cover with cling wrap and place in the fridge for 20 minutes.
Divide the shredded lettuce, avocado, tomatoes, cucumber and corn evenly between two large bowls and set aside.
Heat a heavy-based frypan over high heat, spray lightly with olive oil spray and cook the chicken until it blackens slightly, then remove from the heat and allow to cool for a couple of minutes.
Divide the warm chicken between the two salad bowls and top with fresh coriander leaves, salsa and sour cream just prior to serving. Sprinkle with extra chilli flakes if desired.