Chicken Parmigiana, The Real Deal

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Stuck on something to impress your family or special someone well here is the dish for you. I cooked this up for my lovely flatmates on Sunday night and it sure went down a treat, lets just say it was rather quiet when this was being consumed which is a good sign right?

Crunchy crumbed chicken breast baked with tomato passata sauce, dollops of basil paste, parmesan and layers of fresh mozzarella finished in the oven until golden brown and crispy! Served up with simple spinach and garlic penne pasta. I will admit this may be on the cards again for dinner this week as it was so satisfying and tasty.

Homemade Chicken Parmigiana with Spinach and Garlic Penne

Ingredients:
150gm Breadcrumbs
2x eggs
1/2cup Flour
2 1/2tsp Garlic Salt
2tsp Cracked black pepper
4x Chicken breast, skin removed
250ml Canola oil
500ml Tomato Passata sauce or Tomato pasta sauce
80ml Tube Basil Puree or 4 tbsp fresh basil chopped
1/2cup Parmesan, finely grated
250gm Mozzarella
1tbsp Fresh parsley, roughly chopped
Spinach and Garlic Penne
50gm Baby spinach
500gm Penne Pasta
1tsp Garlic salt
1tsp Cracked black pepper

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 180 degress.
  2. Crack eggs into a bowl and whisk together, set aside.
  3. Place flour in another bowl and add 1tsp garlic salt and 1tsp cracked black pepper, mix until seasoning is evenly mixed through.
  4. repeat same process with the bread crumbs and remaining garlic salt and cracked pepper.
  5. Firstly coat the chicken breast in flour, then into the egg mixture and finally into the seasoned bread crumbs. Set aside and repeat until all breasts are crumbed.
  6.  Heat oil in a heat based wok or fry pan over a low to medium heat until it reaches 170-180 degrees. This will take around 5 minutes or so, Be very careful at this point.
  7. Add 2x Chicken breasts to the hot oil and fry either side for 2-3 minutes until golden brown, place in oven proof dish.
  8. Pour a strip of tomato passata sauce over the crumbed chicken followed by half a tube of the basil puree or 2 tbsp fresh chopped basil. Pour the remaining sauce around the sides of the dish.
  9. Sprinkle 3/4 of the parmesan over and cut mozzarella into 12 pieces, lay 3 pieces over each chicken breast.
  10. Spoon a small dollop of tomato sauce over the top of the chicken and a teaspoon of basil puree and the remainder of the parmesan.
  11. Sprinkle with cracked pepper and bake for 40 minutes until golden brown.
  12. Boil penne in heavily salted water with 2 tbsp oil until cooked.
  13. Drain and add 1 tbsp oil to prevent it from sticking together  add spinach, 1 tsp cracked black pepper and a teaspoon of garlic salt. Mix together.
  14. Remove your chicken from the oven, sprinkle with roughly chopped parsley and serve over your spinach and garlic penne.

ENJOY!

Perfect As Pie

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One of my biggest loves in life is making pies and if you know me you’ll know how much LOVE LOVE LOVE and appreciation I have for a good potato top or cottage pie. Something about them comforting and warm with perfect crunchy pastry topped with clouds of creamy mashed potato. So I took it upon myself today to create cottage pies family and individual size.

This recipe is made from scratch just for you all and it sure made me smile tucking into one straight from the oven this morning, It’s never too early for a pie in my book right?

Cottage Pie

Ingredients:
Pie Filling
1kg Beef mince
1 Onion, finely diced
1/2 Leek sliced
2tbsp Crushed garlic
4tbsp The Good Oil (or canola)
2tsp Dried rosemary
1 tin Diced tomatoes
3tbsp Tomato paste
250ml Worcester sauce
2tbsp Malt vinegar
1ltr Beef stock
2tbsp Soy sauce
1cup Frozen peas
1/2tsp Salt
1tsp Cracked black pepper
1/2cup Cornflour
1/4cup Cold water
Mash Potato
6-8 Large Agria potatoes, peeled
1tsp Salt
1/2tsp Cracked pepper
1tbsp Dried Parsley or fresh
1tbsp Wholegrain mustard
1cup Potato flakes
100gm Butter
150ml Cream

4x Sheets puff or savoury pastry (I used puff)
2tbsp Butter
2tbsp Plain flour
1/2cup Tastey cheese, grated

Method:

  1. Heat fry pan over medium to high heat, add 1tbsp the good oil followed by onion,leek and garlic cook until brown add to a heavy based large pot, over a low heat. Browning  the components develops the flavour of this pie.
  2.  Add 1/4 cup water to remove the caramilsation and add to the pot, dry pan with a paper towel.
  3. Heat fry pan over a high heat add 1 tbsp of oil and half of the mince in large chunks, do not break the mince up let the large pieces brown, this is where a huge part of the flavour is going to come from. Once it has been cooking around 2-3 minutes turn the chunks over and start to brake them up. Add to the pot.
  4. Repeat step 3 until all mince is browned add to pot.
  5. Place stock, diced tomatoes, soy sauce, tomato paste, salt, pepper and rosemary into the large pot, stirring well. Bring to the boil and then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 2 hours.  Making sure you are stiring occasionally to prevent burning.
  6. Taste and check the seasoning, add frozen peas and turn the heat up to high to get a rapid boil happening.
  7. Mix the cornflour and 1/4 cup  water to create a slurry, stir this into your boiling beef mixture. Cook out for 5 minutes, stirring as this can catch on the bottom once thickened.
  8. Spread your pie mix out on a lined deep roasting tray to cool down fast.
  9. Now to make the mashed potato.
  10. Boil potatoes until tender with 1tsp of salt.
  11. Drain and add salt, pepper, butter, cream, parsley and mustard. Mash well until smooth, stir in potato flakes. The potato flakes help give the mash structure on top of the pie.
  12. Pre-heat oven to 200 degrees.
  13. Time to assemble, once your pie mix is cool if using this hot it can make the pastry soggy and not achieve a crunchy finish.
  14. Butter and flour pie dishes I have used some small and a large Family size round dish as well. Bang the dish on the bench to remove excess flour. You can you muffin tins for mini versions perfect for the kids lunch box.
  15. When cutting your pastry you want to cut it slightly larger than the pie dish to avoid shrinkage, any off cuts keep for the edges on the larger pie.
  16. For the large pie I used one sheet of pastry on the base and the off cuts from the small pies around the edge. *see photos below
  17. Once you have lined your dishes with pastry, trim the edges the a knife resting it on the edge of the dish and cutting the overhanging pastry if there is any.
  18. Fill the dishes 3/4 of the way up with the pie filling, you want to make sure there is room for the potato.
  19. Top with potato mixture, for the smaller pies I placed a large spoonful in the center and worked the mash to the edge of the pastry making sure there was no gap left or the mince with boil out in the oven.
  20. For the large pie I placed spoonfuls of mash over the top and repeated this until it was cover. Smooth over the top making sure you get to the edges of the pastry just like the smaller pies to avoid the mince escaping.
  21. Top with grated tasty cheese and bake for 40 minutes until golden brown.

I was left with about 1/4 of the pie mix left over, you can make more pies or freeze this down to use later on when you want the pie again.  It could also can be served hot over pasta or creamy mash for an easy mid-week dinner.

Tender Venison Necks

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Everyone who knows me knows I absolutely love a good bargain! One of my favorite things to do is get the reduced to clear meat goes very cheap and usually still has 2 days good before it must be frozen. However these were not reduced to clear they were full price $3.86 for 5 venison necks, $5.99kg now that is awesome isn’t it?

Venison is one of my favorite meats its super high in iron and very lean! Today I was in a relaxed mood as it was my day off so i decided to put the slow cooker on. I love the thing I must say switch it on in the morning by dinner time all you have to do is thicken and make some mash. Love a simple dinner and here is a beauty one im sharing with you all!

Venison necks are a nice cheap cut of meat and they have a surprising amount of meat on them to so its a great value for money meat. You can find them at most supermarkets i picked these up from pak n save however i used to get them at countdown and sometimes new world as well. The ones here are from Canterbury from a farm called the Merchant of Venison.  If your lucky enough to have wild venison or know a hunter who could get you some give it a go with that it has a more gamer flavour and is also delicious.

Slow Braised Venison Necks with Cranberry and Pumpkin
on
Swede and Agria Mash

Ingredients

5-6 venison necks
1 tsp paprika
1 onion, fine dice
1 stalk celery, medium dice
2 cloves garlic, fine dice
2 carrots
1/2 small crown pumpkin, peeled and 3-4cm dice
1 tin diced tomatoes
400ml water
1 bay leaf
1 tbsp fresh rosemary
1/4 cup cranberries
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper
2 tbsp cornflour + water for slurry
Swede and Agria Mash
1/4 swede, peeled and small 2cm dice
3 medium agria potatoes, peeled and 4cm dice
1 spring onion, finely sliced
50gm butter
1/8 cup milk
salt and pepper

Method:

  1. Turn slow cooker onto low.
  2. Season venison generously with salt, pepper and the paprika on both sides.
  3. Heat medium fry pan over a medium to high heat, add 1 tbsp oil followed by onion, celery and garlic. Saute until opaque add to slow cooker.
  4. Brown venison necks both sides add to the slow cooker with the remaining ingredients, apart from the cornflour.
  5. Cook on low for 6 hours, combine cornflour and small amount of water to make a slurry stir into venison and cook for further 10 minutes.
  6. Bring swede and potato to the boil and cook until tender. ( it is important to cut the swede smaller as it takes longer to cook than potato.)
  7. Drain, mash and stir in butter, milk, spring onion, salt and pepper. Stir well.
  8. Serve venison necks on bed of swede and agria mash with sprinkle of crumbled feta and chopped celery leaves.

Serves: 2-4

Feijoas yes please!

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I love feijoa’s hence this is my second post on feijoa’s today ! Make the most of them while they are nice and cheap and are available. If you get a your hands on to many you can always peel and freeze for when you have a feijoa craving!

This is one of easiest cake recipe out! You put all the ingredients in the food processor so no mixing or hand beating requires! It a moist upside down feijoa and lime yoghurt cake, it goes down a treat warm with a cup of tea. Would be perfect served warm with ice-cream for a different dessert but is just as good cold!

Upside Down Feijoa and Lime Yoghurt Cake

 

Ingredients:
5 feijoa’s, peeled and slice thick rings
2 limes, zest and juice
1 lemon, zest and juice
1 cup canola oil
1 cup yoghurt
1/2 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
2 cups flour
2 tsp baking soda

Method:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 170 degrees.
  2. Combine all ingredients in food possessor apart from the feijoa’s!
  3. Puree until combined scrap down sides and blitz once more.
  4. Line a loaf tin with baking paper and arrange the feijoa slices along the bottom making sure there are no gaps.
  5. Pour over cake batter and bake for 40-50 minutes until golden brown and a knife comes out clean when tested.
  6. Remove from oven and allow to cool in tin for 5 minutes until turning onto serving plate.

Serve warm or cold.

*this can be made in either a loaf tin or cake tin but it is important that you line it or it wont turn our of the tin.

 

Long Time Coming

Its been a longtime since I have posted on here. Its been a busy start to the year and now its already May! I don’t know where the first four  months of the year have gone but I can defiantly say that the years are going faster and faster!

Its getting colder in New Zealand now as winter is approaching we get a great variety of produce available as the seasons change. Ive had great fun in the kitchen photographing and testing some new recipes for the blog. Coconut and Mango Passion Cheesecakes, Feijoa and Apple Crumble, Rhubarb, Vanilla Bean and Granny Smith Preserve plus some great savory dishes . Butternut Squash Cheese Bake, Sole with Capers and Shallots in Brown Butter the list goes on. Now I better get typing so you all can enjoy these tasty items to !

Feijoa and Apple Crumble

Feijoa is such a unique flavour which i really love and something i get very excited about once they come into season. Here is a super simple and fast recipe for feijoa and apple crumble with fresh custard.

Ingredients
5 feijoas, peeled and sliced
2 apples, cut into 3 cm chunk (skin on)
1/4 cup white sugar
3/4 cup water
Crumble Topping
1 1/2 cup oats
1/2 cup coconut
1/4 cup brown sugar
130gm butter, melted
1/2 tsp cinnamon
Custard
20gm custard powder
30gm white sugar
300ml milk
1 tsp vanilla

Method:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees.
  2. Combine sliced  feijoa, apple, sugar and water in a medium size pot bring to boil and simmer for 5 minutes until feijoa’s are soft and apple is tender.
  3. Pour into oven proof dish.
  4. Make the crumble topping by combining all ingredients and stiring well, top the stewed fruit evenly with crumble mix.
  5. Bake for 20minutes until golden and bubbling.
  6. While the crumble is baking make the custard.
  7. Combine custard powder, sugar and a small amount of milk in a bowl to form a smooth paste, whisk in remaining milk and transfer to a pot.
  8. bring to the boil and stir until thick.
  9. Remove crumble from oven and serve with hot custard and ice cream if you dare.

Serves 4

Fresh Berry Tarts

Summer is here and I finally got around to typing one of the most simplest recipes up. Flaky pastry topped with vanilla custard and fresh Central Otago Cherries and Raspberries with a scattering of white chocolate crisped up in the oven and would be perfect served with vanilla ice cream or cream.

I used what fruit I had on hand these would also be delicious with sliced apricots, peaches or any stone fruit and berries!

Fresh Raspberry, Cherry and Custard Tarts

Ingredients:

1/2 cup cherries, stones removed
1/2 cup raspberries
1/4 cup white chocolate, roughly chopped
1 cup cold vanilla custard
1 sheet of flaky pastry, cut into 4 squares

Method:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 180 degress.
  2. Line baking tray with baking paper and space the 4 cut out squares of pastry evenly apart on tray.
  3. Dollop 1/4 custard on the base of each piece of pastry, trying to keep it roughly in the center spread out slightly leaving a ring of pastry around the edge. Top with cherries, raspberries and white chocolate.
  4. Bake for 15 minutes until golden serve  warm finished with fresh mint and a dusting of icing sugar and a side of ice-cream or cream.

Serves: 4

Homemade Cinnamon Coconut Crunch Muesli

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Here’s a great base recipe for homemade muesli what i mean by base recipe is you could add any chopped dried fruit you wanted I just didn’t have any in my cupboard at the time. Some of my favorites are apricots, cranberries, sultanas and blueberries.

You can use this muesli for much more than just breakfast! It can be the crunch layer in a layered yoghurt dessert added to raw muffin mix for a crumble topping and many more!

This is my new go to muesli recipe! Im sitting here at 2 in the afternoon with a big bowl and it is so tastey and crunchy, with a combination of sunflower and pumpkin seeds, shredded coconut, finished with cinnamon and maple syrup.

Homemade Cinnamon Coconut Crunch Muesli

Ingredients:

  • 2 cup sunflower seeds
  • 2 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 8 cup rolled oats
  • 1 cup shredded coconut
  • 1/2 cup white sesame seeds
  • 2 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 brown sugar
  • 250 gm butter, melted

Method:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 160 degrees.
  2. In large bowl combine all ingredients, mix well, pour into a lined baking tray and bake for 45-50 minutes or until golden brown not to dark as it will taste burnt.
  3. You want to stir it every 5-10 minutes to evenly bake the museli.
  4. Remove from oven , cool and store in an air-tight container.

Makes: 10-15 serves muesli

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Icing Sugar Pavlova

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With an abundance of eggs coming from our girls everyday I really needed to use them up. I got the idea in my head that Pavlova was on the cards. I was so excited I had not made a pav since Christmas. Sadly my sugar jar was empty! I nearly cried! Only type of sugar I had was icing sugar or confectioners sugar so it was either going to work or fail drastically. Here’s how the icing sugar pav turned out.

The Icing Sugar Pavlova

With a crisp and crunchy outer shell and a marshmallow center topped with vanilla cream and slightly tart boysenberries this pav went down a treat.

Ingredients

  • 6 egg whites
  • 2 3/4 cup icing sugar, sifted
  • 1 tbsp cornflour, sifted
  • 1 tbsp white vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste
  • 2 tbsp boiling water

Boysenberry Compote

  • 1 cup frozen boysenberries
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup icing sugar
  • Whipped cream to serve

Method:

  1.  Preheat oven to 200 degrees.
  2. In a stand mixer with whisk attachment, add the first 5 ingredients and whisk for 12 minutes until glossy, light and hard peaks are reached, see picture below.
  3. Line baking tray with baking paper and, scrap out egg mix trying to keep it all in the center piled up this makes it easier to shape into a circle.
  4. Using a rubber scraper or pallet knife move it side to side pushing the meringue out evenly in a circle shape, to shape the sides drag your pallet knife up from base to top, like in the picture below.
  5. Bake at 200 degrees for 2 minutes then drop 100 degrees for 1 1/2 hours.
  6. In medium size pot add boysenberries, water and icing sugar, bring to the boil and then simmer until thicken slightly.
  7. Turn oven off and leave meringue to cool inside, once cooler open the oven door slightly. Allow to cool and set aside.
  8. Once cool top with whipped cream and boysenberry compote.

Slices: 8-10

Add first 5 ingredients, whisk for 6 minutes add boiling water and continue to whisk for further 6 minutes.

Add first 5 ingredients, whisk for 6 minutes add boiling water and continue to whisk for further 6 minutes.

Meringue should be glossy, light, fluffy and hold stiff peaks.

Meringue should be glossy, light, fluffy and hold stiff peaks.

Place heaped meringue onto lined baking tray and shape.

Place heaped meringue onto lined baking tray and shape.

Using pallet knife draw if from the base to the top to add a nice design and structure to the pav.

Using pallet knife draw if from the base to the top to add a nice design and structure to the pav.

Ready for the oven, bake at 200 degrees for 2 minutes then drop to 100 degress for a further 1 /12 hours.

Ready for the oven, bake at 200 degrees for 2 minutes then drop to 100 degrees for a further 1 /12 hours.

My finished pavlova has a few cracks on the top but i can hide that with cream all and all not bad.

My finished pavlova has a few cracks on the top but i can hide that with cream all and all not bad.

Side view slight crack but I like that you know its home made perfect in-perfection.

Side view slight crack but I like that you know its home made perfect in-perfection.

Top with whipped cream and boysenberry compote.

Top with whipped cream and boysenberry compote.

Crisp outside and marsh marsh-mellow center the perfect homemade meringue.

Crisp outside and marsh marshmallow center the perfect homemade meringue.

Cinnamon Pear Upside Down Cake

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I must admit it has been along time since I’ve done a post on here. Life gets away with you sometimes. Anyway back to food! With having 3 days of which is very rear I cleaned the kitchen and set to creating something new for you all. Here is a great recipe to use up left over pears. I got a bag of 8 pears for $1.34 I absolutely love getting bargins!

Cinnamon Pear Upside Down Cake

Lightly spiced caramelized pears baked into a vanilla cake perfect served warm with a spoonful of plain yogurt or fresh cream.

 

Ingredients

6 pears peeled, cored and thinly sliced
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 lemon zest and juice
3 eggs
3/4 cup white sugar
1 tbsp vanilla essence
1/2 cup melted butter
3 tbsp canola oil
1 1/2 cup white flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tbsp white vinegar
Coconut vanilla glaze
1/2 cup icing sugar
1/4 cup long thread coconut
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
To serve:
Dusting of icing sugar and yogurt or cream

Method:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 170 degress.
  2. Line spring form cake tin with baking paper on the sides and base.
  3. Peel, core and thinly slice pears add to bowl with brown sugar, lemon zest and juice and cinnamon. Stir and pour into the bottom of the lined cake tin.
  4. In stand mixer whisk eggs and sugar together until pale and fluffy. Whisk in melted butter, vanilla and vinegar.
  5. Sift flour, baking soda into egg mix and fold through, pour ontop of the pears and bake for 35-40 minutes until tested with a knife come out clean.
  6. Mix together icing sugar, vanilla, coconut and boiling water, stir until thin icing has formed, drizzle over the cake. Dust with icing sugar.
  7. Serve warm with yogurt or cream.

Slices: 10-12

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