Aug 022012
 

This is a lovely dish that unfortunately just doesn’t photograph very well (or at least, not with my limited photography skills!).  It’s lucky it’s so tasty then!

I only discovered lentils, green puy lentils in particular, in the last 3 or 4 years.  However, they are now on high rotation in our household.  I find them enough of a meal on their own, perhaps with a poached egg on top, but this dish adds in a hearty piece of chicken as well.  It’s a great winter recipe for those cold nights that Brisbane has been having lately.  We live in an old Queenslander, which is built to be beautifully cool in summer, but has the added disadvantage of being absolutely freezing in winter.  Any excuse to turn on the oven is welcomed at this time of year.

I know I got this recipe from someone else’s website.  Unfortunately, when I printed it out it appears I failed to make a note of it.  So I apologise for not being able to give credit where credit is due!  Although, as usual, I have made quite a few changes to the original recipe, so this is my own spin.

Chicken and lentils

Serves 4-6
Prep time 30 minutes
Cook time 1 hour
Total time 1 hour, 30 minutes
Meal type Main Dish

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 rashers bacon or proscuitto (diced)
  • 4 chicken thighs or marylands (skin on)
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 large onions (diced)
  • 2 stalks celery (diced)
  • 2 carrots (diced)
  • 4 cloves garlic (sliced)
  • 2 tablespoons ground cumin
  • 1-2 cup red cabbage (sliced)
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • bunch parsley (diced)
  • 2 cups green puy lentils (rinsed well)
  • 3 cups chicken stock (more as needed)

Method

1 Preheat oven to 180*. Heat the oil in a large dutch oven over medium heat.
2 Fry off the bacon until golden. Remove and drain on paper towel.
3 Season chicken with salt and pepper and add, skin side down, to the pot (cook in batches if required).
4 Sear until golden on all sides over medium-high.
5 Remove chicken from pan and pour off all but about 2 tablespoons of fat.
6 Add onions, celery, carrot and garlic and cook over medium heat until onion becomes translucent.
7 Stir in the cumin and add the vinegar and half parsley, briefly saute.
8 Add the lentils, stock and cooked bacon.
9 Return the chicken to the pan and bring to a simmer on the stove.
10 Once simmering, cover with the lid and place the whole thing in the oven.
11 Cook for about an hour, until the lentils are tender and most of the liquid has absorbed (you may need to add more stock to get the lentils to the desired consistency). Add the red cabbage for the last 15 minutes of cooking time.
12 Season to taste and serve. I recommend crusty bread to mop up any excess lentil sauce.
Oct 202011
 

Ratatouille always makes me think of this movie, which in turn, makes me think about my childhood pet rat (Foo).  From there, it’s a leap into memories of our old house, my much missed dog Rusty and the enormous frangipani tree that stood in our front yard…

Of course, that has nothing to do with this particular recipe!

Orangette was blogging about food long before I had any idea that there was such a thing as food blogs, and probably about the same time I was living on such culinary delights as two minute noodles and Pizza Hut pizzas (what? I was at uni!).  She’s written one book: A Homemade Life, and is in the process of writing another.  This recipe is adapted from her Ratatouille recipe in A Homemade Life.  It’s slightly different to the one my Mum used to make, which basically just cooked all the vegetables together.  This one requires a bit more effort – but you can successfully multitask to save time.  Alternatively, you can cook the eggplant the day before which allows you to save on a few minutes.

The finished product was served with a runny fried egg and chunks of crusty bread.  Then I enjoyed it again for lunch – it’s one of those dishes that improves over a couple of days.  In fact, I may have some more for lunch tomorrow!

[recipe-show recipe=roasted-eggplant-ratatouille]

Jul 152011
 

Brisbane has been going through a bit of a “cold snap” – I say that with a slight tinge of sarcasm as I’m well aware our 10* temperatures are hardly going to bring on hypothermia.  That being said, I am a Queenslander and my skin is exceptionally thin when it comes to the cold.  Of course, at this time of year I am drawn to the dark side – gone are the light salads and healthy (ish) food habits of summer – I want cheese, I was warmth and I tell myself that additional layer of fat helps me to conserve heat.

It is in this spirit that I give you this recipe for mushroom quiche, with all my love. A couple of minor changes – I cheated and used packaged puff pastry, and I pre-browned the mushrooms in some garlic, butter and parsley for extra flavour.

Don’t even try to kid yourself that it is healthy – it’s not.  It is delicious though.  Worth it for a special treat (or a Wednesday night, same difference).

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Jul 032011
 

I’ve had this book for ages and enjoyed the stories surrounding the recipes.  However, this is the first time I have cooked from it.  I love lentils, I love how the French prepare lentils and I love a good poached or fried egg (with a runny yolk!) so here is my take on Elizabeth Bard’s recipe.  It makes a delicious, healthy, mid-week meal.

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[recipe-show recipe=lentilles-au-vin-blanc]

Apr 032010
 

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My first taste of macaroons was at Laduree in Paris.  From my first mouthful I was hooked.  But I’ve been scared to buy them in Brisbane, as I’m afraid they won’t quite live up to how I remember them in my mind.  I finally decided to tackle them this weekend, since it was looking a bit quieter than normal.  My expectations were not high but I figure I have to start somewhere.

Macaroons are hard to describe – they are basically a meringue cookie (containing ground almonds), filled with some kind of sweet filling.  They are light and delicate, and the texture of the cookie contrasts nicely with the unctuous filling.  For my first attempt I was aiming for aqua cookies with blackberry and mascarpone filling.  I used this recipe from Tartelette (she’s French so she must know how to make them no?).

However, obviously I made mine green, as I’m hoping to make some to serve at my engagement party next weekend (the theme colours are aqua, blue and green).  Instead of the raspberry filling that Tartelette proposes, I used blackberry jam.  Unfortunately I was a little over-zealous with the food colouring, and as a result they look kind of like frogs with tongues poking out.

I’m also interested in experimenting with chocolate ganache, and fruit-based filling.  I will keep you posted on my progress.

I actually experimented with two sizes – the ones in the photograph are my small size, and are only about an inch in size.  I made larger versions but alas I didn’t cook them for long enough and they crumbled on the baking paper.  I actually think I prefer the smaller size anyway, they are like little sweet pockets of air that dissolve in your mouth.

Based on my first experience, and thanks to the excellent instructions of Tartlette, I have to say I don’t think macaroons are hard, so much as fiddly and reasonably time consuming.  Like most baking, there is a science and a process that must be followed.  I am  happy to follow instructions, which is why baking works for me.

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