Tuesday, 31 January 2017

The Best BBQ Chicken

Hello Dear Reader,

I love a good BBQ chicken, what I don't love about the bought ones, is the flabby soft skin on the underside, the spooky stuffing and the seasoning that is probably full of numbers. This is a great alternative to a bought BBQ chicken. The original recipe came from Mels Kitchen Cafe but I have tinkered with the ingredients preferring, as always, real onion and garlic to their powdered counterparts.

 It has all the wonderful smokey flavours of a BBQ, thanks to the smokey paprika, so you can easily cook it in the oven and get the same flavour and there is no soggy bottom or numbers in sight. The method is easy, just blitzing up a rub and the "stuffing" is not a stuffing actually, but more flavour to infuse with the tender chicken meat. You also bake it on a bed of rock salt which seals in all moisture so you end up with tender non-dry meat. The finished BBQ chicken will be dark but don't confuse dark with burnt, those dark bits are all flavour baby!

In a food processor, blitz up one small chopped onion, 2 cloves of chopped garlic, 1 tablespoon brown sugar, 1 tablespoon smokey paprika, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper, 1 teaspoon dried chilli flakes and 3 tablespoon honey

Ingredients for The Best BBQ Chicken-
A whole chicken, washed inside and out and patted dry, 3 cloves garlic, one whole lemon, BBQ sauce (see above), a good handful of oregano and a prepared tray, lined with baking paper and a packet of rock salt spread out in an even layer

Put the bunch of herbs, whole lemon and peeled garlic into the cavity of the chicken

Use a toothpick to seal up the chicken

Coat the chicken, breast side up, with the BBQ rub, get some of that gorgeous BBQ sauce under the skin as well, loosening the skin as you go

Then flip over and lay the chicken, breast side down, on the bed of rock salt, now give the underside a good coating of BBQ rub

Put into a 200C oven or lidded BBQ for 40 minutes on the first side

Take out chicken and gently flip over, now the breast side will be up. If there are bits of salt clinging to the chicken, just gently brush them off. Continue to roast for another 40 to 50 minutes or until a meat thermometer inserted in between the thigh and breast registers 180 F. Let the chicken rest for 20 minutes before carving. 

Carve chicken into portions. I know it looks too dark but the flavour is incredible and the meat is succulent and tender

I served ours with a simple watermelon and feta salad

Over to you, what is your favourite "rub" for meat? 




Monday, 30 January 2017

Macadamia ANZAC Biscuits

Hello Dear Reader,


The boys went fishing for the weekend and I wanted to make something sweet that was easy to carry and would taste yummy. I have made this recipe many times before and it is so delicious with the addition of macadamias, they add a lovely crunch and nuttiness to the already, fabulous biscuits. Did you know that the original ANZAC biscuits where made to be sent to the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) troops overseas and were made to last a long time, even though they were made with longevity in mind they are absolutely delicious, crunchy and full of goodness. Give them a go, I think you will love them.

My darling Mum made these, minus the macadamias, when we were young, for school lunches, she would purposely almost burn a tray, just for me, as I liked them really well done, they would taste like dark toffee, YUM!

Ingredients for Macadamia ANZAC Biscuits, clockwise from top right-
1 cup brown sugar, 1 cup macadamias, chopped, 2 tablespoons golden syrup, 100 grams butter, 1/2 teaspoon bicarb soda, 1 tablespoon hot water, 1/2 cup shredded coconut, 1 cup rolled oats, 3/4 cup plain flour

Preheat oven to 175C and line two trays with baking paper. In a bowl, add the rolled oats, brown sugar, macadamias and coconut and mix well. In a small saucepan melt together the butter and golden syrup
Mix together the bicarb soda and hot water

And add the bicarb mixture to the melted butter and golden syrup

Let it bubble and froth and give it a good stir

Add the frothy butter mixture to the dry ingredients and mix well

Biscuit mixture ready to be rolled and baked

Roll small walnut size balls of biscuit mixture and flatten slightly with your fingers. Leave room around each biscuit as they will spread and flatten out

Bake at 175 C for 15 minutes, but keep an eye on them as, you know, every oven is different. Fresh from the oven they will still be very soft so let them cool on the tray for 10 minutes before removing them to a cooling rack. Repeat with remaining mixture


What did your Mum make for school lunches?

One Year Ago

Sunday, 29 January 2017

Coconut and Lime Fish Wraps

Hello Dear Reader,

I have been reading lots of recipes, for a long time now, about fish tacos and really wanted to give them a whirl. The main thing that was stopping me was the length of ingredients and time it would take to put them together. I am all about really quick and delicious meals, except for, of course, when I am using my slow cooker. So, when I saw this recipe, I knew it was for me. The flavours, to begin with, are among my absolute favs and the ingredients and cooking time were just perfect. I didn't have time to marinade the fish but it still turned out delicious. So, I say give it a go, it is a really lovely light and fresh dinner. I steamed some rice to go with it to make it a complete meal.

Ingredients for Coconut and Lime Fish Wraps, clockwise from top right- 500 grams of mild flavours fish, cut into small fillets (I used Yellow Tail King fish), a good handful each of mint and coriander, 3 teaspoons of lime rind, grated, 1/3 cup panko breadcrumbs, about half a cucumber,  270 ml can coconut cream (I use Ayam brand), 1/4 teaspoon dried chilli, 1/3 cup shredded coconut, sweet chilli sauce and wraps to serve

In shallow bowl mix together the coconut cream and the grated lime zest

Marinade fish for 3 hours, if time permits, I didn't have time and it was more than fine

While fish is marinating, in a small bowl, mix together the coconut, panko breadcrumbs and chilli. Set aside till needed

Peel cucumber into long ribbons and combine with finely chopped mint and coriander, mix together well

Line a baking tray with baking paper. Remove fish from marinade, place onto tray and spoon over a spoonful of marinade on each piece 

Top fish with breadcrumb mixture, giving it a light press as you go

Bake for 10 minutes at 180C or until golden brown and cooked through

To serve, lay your warmed wrap on your plate, spoon over some rice, lay a fish fillet on top of the rice and top with cucumber salad, sweet chilli sauce and a wedge of lime to spritz over the top of everything before devouring. Simple and just divine.

Have you made fish tacos before? How do you make yours?

One Year Ago

Saturday, 28 January 2017

Spinach and Ricotta Pie

Hello Dear Reader,

I have been making more meat free meals lately and this is another really tasty dish where you do not miss the meat element. It is hearty and really delicious, it makes a really robust pie and is super easy to make. All big ticks in my kitchen. Easy-tick, filling-tick, delicious-tick!

I just buy the frozen spinach from ALDI and until now it was always sold in the cardboard box, boo to ALDI for now selling the frozen cubes of spinach in a plastic bag, BOO! As I don't do the shopping I will have to ask Lovely Hubby to look for another brand that is still sold in the cardboard box (recyclable) as I am trying to cut down the amount of single use plastics that are coming into our home.

But I digress. On with this fabulous little recipe.

Make a shortcrust pastry pie crust. I made mine in the thermomix using this recipe. I didn't use as much iced water as the recipe stipulated. I just kept adding a drop at a time until the pastry just came together.

Ingredients for Spinach and Ricotta filling, clockwise from top right
500 grams fresh ricotta, some freshly grated nutmeg, parmesan cheese, a 500 gram packet of frozen spinach, defrosted and moisture squeezed out, 5 eggs, salt and pepper to taste and 200 ml cream

In a bowl, whisk the eggs, then add the squeezed out spinach and whisk again

Now crumble in the ricotta and pour over cream

Give the mixture a gentle whisk to combine

Fill pie crust with spinach and ricotta mixture and grate over some parmesan cheese

Bake at 180 C for 35 to 45 minutes, as always every oven is different so start checking at 35 minutes. I like mine quite golden but it will be "set" long before this

Delicious hot or cold

A very big thank you to a lovely reader, Cheryl, who gave me some fantastic hints and tips for making no-fail, no-shrinking, shortcrust pastry, I would say they worked, wouldn't you?

What kind of pie do you like? Savoury or sweet?

One year ago

Friday, 27 January 2017

This weeks five Frugal Things on a Friday

Hello Dear Reader,

How has your week been? I hope you have had a good week, where ever you are. We had yesterday off for Australia day and I had my darling sister, our Aunt, my Mother in law and my Niece, her Hubby and Grand Nieces over for lunch. We had lamb and rosemary sausages with potato salad followed by fruit topped pavlova, very Australian! It was such a lovely day with my little family, we really appreciate any time we can have together as everyone is so busy these days. My little Grand Nieces are growing up really fast, little Matilda started year one on Tuesday, I can't believe how fast time has flown.

Lovely Hubby and Son went fishing and ended up with four nice fish for the day, it was a nice morning, on the water, but it got "very bumpy" on the way home, as the wind had come up. They are always very careful and take heed of the weather conditions, I always say, the boat looks really big in the boat shed but it is a tiny speck on the ocean! Home safe, with fish, lovely!

Here's what I have been up to on the frugal front-

1. I made two batches of yoghurt, the one on the left is vanilla and the two on the right is thick and creamy, natural yoghurt. I bought the culture from here. It is a bit trial and error at the moment but I will keep at it until I am really happy with the result. I have been using organic milk that has been marked down from the supermarket, every time I ride past Coles, on the way home, I just pop in to see if they have any milk marked down. A litre of lovely natural yoghurt for $1.18, what a bargain!



2. I made a batch of laundry liquid using this recipe. I have been really happy with it, however I am now washing the bath towels in a Eucalyptus wash as I found the towels got a funky smell and feel about them using a home made laundry liquid on them. Does any one else have that problem?


3. I made some garlic-y, lemon-y Hummus to take to work for lunches. I have been adding the zest of the lemon to the Hummus as well, its really delicious! I cook my chickpeas in bulk in the slow cooker and freeze them down into "recipe size" portions. They take very little time to defrost so they are ready to go when I need them.


4. And to have with the Hummus, I made these Rosemary and Garlic Crackers. I made a huge mistake with them though but I was determined not to waste the ingredients. So, the recipe called for 100 gram of Quinoa, I went ahead and cooked the Quinoa and let it cool, as soon as I got home from buying it. However when I re-read the recipe it called for uncooked Quinoa. What a turkey! I made it work though. I ended up with a really sticky dough so I scraped it into a rough rectangle, scored it through with a pizza cutter and put it in the oven, they needed about 40 minutes of cooking but I ended up with a really crunchy and delicious cracker. I will be more careful when making a new recipe next time. Note to self, must read recipe thoroughly first!


5. I made another beautiful loaf of light rye bread. It's a recipe I have used forever and it works every time.



Thats a wrap! Your turn, what frugal things did you do this week? And how did you celebrate Australia Day?


Thursday, 26 January 2017

A Before and After

Hello Dear Reader,

Leading up to Christmas last year, my crowded sewing room became the dumping ground for everything and anything that I didn't have the time to deal with. Holy cow, look at this mess. It is already quite crowded with some good antique furniture that I have inherited that is currently not being used. My theory for hanging onto it is, that one day the kids might want it for their homes. I don't know whether that will happen but for now I am hesitant to give it away. 

All this mess was simply items that needed to be dealt with and I was just overwhelmed by it all. Everything that was in here was put in here with good intentions. I had two pink mesh washing bags that needed to be mended, they were a simple, five minute patch job on the sewing machine, yet they had been sitting there for months. I had washed the sleeping bags but hadn't gotten around to rolling them up and putting them away. There were items that needed to be donated that I simply had not made it into the car for donation. Being time poor and a procrastinator is not a great combination!

Along with the furniture there is quite a lot of "stuff" that belongs to both my son and daughter. This "stuff" needs to be dealt with sooner rather than later, so, this is the next area I am going to de-clutter and deep clean. My daughter is very artistic and there are some old projects in here that either need to go up to Cairns with her or if she doesn't want them, be donated to one of many charity centres we have on the Peninsula. 
Before-What a mess!




After

The furniture is still in there, but at least there is space around my sewing table and everything that belongs to me has had a really good sort out and clean.


In this cube display case there are a few things that belong to me, the mask from Venice, a few patchwork magazines, the long arm for my sewing machine, my two camera bags and lens box, a basket that contains my offcuts of material that I just can't throw away, a bag containing keepsakes from my nieces beautiful wedding in 2012 and a wrapped present that has now been given to my sister. Everything else doesn't belong to me so these will need to be sorted. 


I am so glad this room has been semi-de-cluttered and it has given the incentive I need to continue with this year long de-cluttering process

So, tell me, do you have a room, that has got a little out of hand, like mine was?