Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Victoria Sponge Cake with Rhubarb Jelly and Lemon Cream

As in Queen Victoria, and this was supposedly one of her favorite cakes.

I made mine with a rhubarb jelly filling and lemon cream, it was amazing.

Victoria Sponge Cake


Pretty enough for a Queen


Ingredients:

Cake:

1 Cup Butter, at room temperature, cut into small cubes
2 Eggs, at room temperature about 30 minutes
1/2 Cup Milk, at room temperature about 30 minutes
1 Cup Flour
1 1/2 Teaspoons Baking Powder
1 Cup Sugar
1 Tablespoon Vanilla
Cooking spray

Rhubarb Jelly:

3-4 Stalks Fresh Rhubarb
(Or about 1 1/2 Cup Berries/Fruit of your choice)
1 Teaspoon Lemon Juice
1-2 Teaspoons water
2-4 Tablespoons Sugar

Lemon Cream:

250ml Whipping Cream
2-3 Tablespoons Lemon Instant Pudding Mix

Special Tools:

  • 8 inch Spring Form Pan
  • Electric mixers
Instructions:

Cake:

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Line the bottom on the spring form pan with parchment paper. Spray the parchment and sides of the pan well with cooking spray.

In a small bowl sift the flour with the baking powder. Set aside.

In a stand mixer or large bowl with electric hand mixers cream the cubed room temperature butter with the sugar until well blended and smooth. The butter shouldn't look grainy with sugar. This takes at least 5 minutes of mixing.

Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each egg. Continue to mix the batter on a low speed for about 3 minutes to ensure everything incorporates.

Still on a low mixing speed, slowly  and gradually add the flour mixture to the butter, sugar, egg mixture. Mixing until just combined.

Slowly pour the milk in while continuing to mix on low speed. Add the vanilla last and mix in just long enough to incorporate.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan, spreading into an even layer.

Bake in preheated oven until set and a cake tester inserted comes out clean, between 20 and 35 minutes.

Allow cake to cool in pan 10 minutes, then run a knife around the edges to separate the cake from the pan and loosen the spring form. Allow to finish cooling on a rack.

You can now enjoy the cake as is, frost it, dust with icing sugar or continue reading to fill the cake with jelly, and make lemon cream.

Rhubarb Jelly:

Special Tools:
  • Immersion Blender

Wash the rhubarb and cut off about an inch from leaf end and root end of each. Roughly chop into small pieces.

In a medium sauce pan add all of the ingredients listed (Start with about 2 tablespoons of sugar, add more at the end if needed) and slowly simmer over a low heat. Stir occasionally.

When Rhubarb begins to soften, gently mash it with a spoon or fork and continue to cook down until everything feels pretty soft when you stir.

If your immersion blender is heat safe you can blend it right away, just pulse through the jelly until smooth. OR you can leave the jelly to cool for a while, or if you don't care if the jelly is really smooth you can use as is.

Jelly is now ready to go. You can use it as a sauce for dessert or just like normal store-bought jelly on toast in the morning.

To Fill a Cake with Jelly:

Place cooled cake on a flat level surface, like a cutting board or plate.

Using a large cake knife, carefully but with confidence cut the cake horizontally, right across the middle as best you can. Separating the cake into a top layer and bottom layer.

Leave the bottom layer where it is.

Ok now life gets a little tricky because we have to move cake around without breaking it. I used a spare spring form pan bottom as a giant cake lifter. Gently working with both hands to lift and slide the top layer of the cake onto the pan/lifter implement of choice.

Transfer the one layer of cake CUT SIDE UP on to your cake platter (Plate) that you plan to serve/present the cake on. It will now be the bottom layer of your finished cake.

Next take the jelly you plan to fill the cake and using only a tablespoon at a time, smooth a thin layer of jelly across the entire surface of the bottom layer of plated cake. Being careful to not allow the jelly to seep over the edges of the cake.

Transfer the remaining layer of cake onto the jelly covered layer, CUT SIDE DOWN.  Some jelly may come out the sides during this process, that's alright.

You can now enjoy the cake! Or dust with confectioners sugar, or frost it, or continue on to make Lemon Cream

Lemon Cream:

Special Tools:
  • Piping bag and Star Tip
In a Stand Mixer on low speed, or electric mixers on medium, whip the cream with the instant pudding mix. Continue to whip until stiff peaks form. Being careful not to overmix and split the cream.

Fill a piping bag fitted with a star tip with the whipped cream and pipe stars across the entire top surface of the cake, or leave a "doughnut hole" like I did to fill with cream.

Lemon Cream is an excellent addition to almost anything you want to eat in summer. Promise.

Enjoy!

Notes:

Best dessert I have made. Or at least my favorite. I am just not big on most desserts but this one was a delight in every bite.

Also I know I have hated on things that come in boxes or that are premade and such before, so seeing instant lemon pudding mix in recipe is a little strange for me. But instant pudding isn't the worst thing on the shelves in a grocery store, and making pudding from scratch is way more work than I want to do for just pudding. . . So I justify this one as being an acceptable compromise, Plus making things taste like lemon only using lemons takes an absurd number of lemons so this is also cost effective. WIN WIN!

PS: Pretty sure the Queen never had her cake quite like this. She missed out.

Other Places:

In case you wanted something savory instead of sweet:

Cheese Puffs

Tandoori Chicken

Tandoori Chicken




Tandoori Chicken with Naan Bread. Yum!

Ingredients:

1 Small Whole Chicken, or already butchered to servings
1/2 Cup Plain Yogurt
2 Tablespoons Malt Vinegar
1 Tablespoon Lemon Juice
2-3 Cloves Garlic, minced
1 Tablespoon Ginger Root, minced
1 Tablespoon Cumin
2 Teaspoons Coriander
1/2 Teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
1/2 Teaspoon Ground Cloves
1/2 Teaspoon Cardamom
Salt and Pepper
Oil

Instructions:

In a large stainless steel or glass mixing bowl combine the yogurt with the vinegar, lemon juice, garlic, ginger root, cumin, coriander, cayenne, cloves and cardamom. Stir to blend and mix well.

If your chicken is still whole use a sharp knife to separate into portions, drumstick, thigh, wing, back breast and front/center breast works well. Trim any excess fat, skin, and the spine from the bird. You can use these left over parts to make stock if you wish.

Season the chicken portions with salt and pepper. Toss into marinade and turn to coat.

Cover and allow chicken to marinade for at least eight hours, but no longer than two days.

When ready you cook you can smoke the chicken over a low heat for about 1 hour, and then either sear in a hot skillet or on a grill to finish cooking. Or roast marinated chicken in a 420°F oven for about 45 minutes, or until cooked through.

Serve with Basmati Rice and maybe some Naan Bread.

Enjoy!

Ps: While this was fantastic to eat, I might add some smoked paprika either right at the end over the top of the chicken or a pinch in the marinade. Definitely not needed but I love Paprika on chicken.

Other Places:

Something Traditional:

Pie Crust, also great for tarts or any flaky pastry recipe. I use this a lot. 

Monday, 23 June 2014

Making a Simple Smoker

I have tried to smoke things on the BBQ with a smoker box, and in a slow cooker following instructions many people swore by and nothing seemed to really impart enough smoke flavor.

Until I was watching Masterchef Australia and saw one of the contestants set up a stove-stop smoker with a large cast iron wok. I watched the episode a few more times to see how it was done and then tested it out. Best smoke-flavor results. Or at least the best I can seem to pull off without getting a legit machine. Which I don't think I will be doing now since this works so well for me.

Simple Stove-Top Smoker

Materials:

Wood Chips, Hickory or the Jack Daniels barrel ones are my favorite
Large Cast Iron Wok, with Lid
Tin foil
Cooking Spray
A rack of some variety. I use a pizza pan.
1 Heaping Cup Wood Chips

Instructions:

30 minutes before beginning to start smoking, soak the wood chips and any herbs or whole spices you would like to use in warm water. Drain after 30 minutes.

Line the entire inside of the wok with a layer of tin foil, arrange the wood chips and herbs/spices on the bottom in an even level layer.


Pretty easy so far.



Now, my wok actually came with a little rack thing to use with it, but it fits much to close to the lid to work well for this purpose. So I use an old small tin pizza pan that has the vent holes all throughout it. Basically you need to set up a grill of some kind so whatever meat you smoke is floating above the wood chips.

Place the lid on the wok and turn on burner to about medium heat. Allow to heat for at least 10 minutes or until you can see smokey-steam inside.


Once the smoker is beginning to smoke, lightly oil your grill of choice with some cooking spray. Arrange your protein to be smoked on the grill. Replace the lid, and if desired you can wrap a damp clean kitchen towel around where the lid meets the wok. This helps keep all the smoke inside the wok, and not in your kitchen. (Pictured here is some Tandoori Chicken)


Keep covered for about 20 minutes. You can now either continue to smoke cook the protein until it is cooked through, or remove it from the smoker and finish cooking in the oven, in a pan or on a real grill. I have found between 20-40 minutes gives most meat a nice smokey flavor.

Enjoy!

Other Places:

A funny story and a crazy easy dessert that doesn't need the oven.

Queen B's Fried Rice

Fried Rice



Ingredients:

1 Cup Long Grain White Rice, cooked
1 Egg
1/4 Cup Soy Sauce
1/4 Cup Chopped Green Onion
Salt and Pepper
2 Tablespoons olive oil
3-5 Stalks Green Onion, sliced thin
Roughly 1-1 1/2 Cups Chopped Vegetables- I usually use:
4-6 Button Mushrooms
2-3 Stalks Celery
1/4 Cup Shelled Edamame
But please feel free to change up the vegetables to better suit your taste, like peppers, or peas and corn, or an all mushroom medley

Also optional if you want to try and add some protein, add one of the following:
1-2 Chicken breasts, cubed
1-2 Pork Chops, cubed
1/2-1 Cup Diced or whole Shrimp

Instructions:

Precook the rice and allow it to cool in the completely or at least 10 minutes before starting to cook the fried rice. Or reuse leftover white rice from last night.

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat.

Dice/prepare all the ingredients you plan to add to the rice, like the vegetables, and/or protein.

In a small bowl whisk the egg with the soy sauce, set aside.

Cook tough vegetables and any proteins first (Tough vegetables include onions, peppers and celery, soft ones are mushrooms, green onions). Cook any proteins through entirely.

In a large bowl gently toss the precooked rice with the egg and soy sauce mixture. Stir well to evenly mix, but do no over mix or crush the rice. (Alternatively, if you feel like you can fold the rice and egg quickly you can add the rice all at once to the skillet, and pour the egg and soy sauce mixture over top and fold it through. If you are slow or the skillet is too hot you can end up with some eggy bits in the final rice, some people like this some people do not.)

Add the rice mixture to the skillet, carefully fold in the rice with the vegetables, once again being careful not to crush the rice.  (If you folded the rice with the egg and soy sauce mixture in the skillet you have already completed this step)

Careful when folding and stirring the rice, over stirring can lead to mushy rice, under stirring leads to burnt crunchy bits on the bottom mixed with runny eggy bits in the middle.

Allow the rice to fry cook for about 4-5 minutes without stirring. After letting it cook, carefully fold and flip the rice in the skillet. Allow to cook undisturbed another 4-5 minutes. Continue this process until all the runny egg has cooked and rice is fluffy and maybe just starting to gett some nice dark crusty bits on the bottom.

Serve right away as a meal or as a side.

Enjoy!

Other Places:

Something different:

Buffalo Sauce

Sunday, 22 June 2014

Lamb Burger with Spicy Yogurt Sauce

Lamb is rather strong in flavor, but grills really well.

Lamb Burger with Spicy Yogurt Sauce

Ingredients:

500 Grams Ground Lamb
1/2 Onion, finely minced
2-3 Cloves Garlic, minced
1/4-1/2 Cup Bread crumbs
1 Egg
1 Tablespoon Dijon Mustard
2 Tablespoons Red wine/ Wine Vinegar
Salt and Pepper
1 Tablespoon Oregano Leaves

Sauce:

1/4 Cup Plain Yogurt
1 Clove Garlic
1-2 Tablespoons Sriracha Chili Sauce(Or a finely minced jalapeno pepper)
1 Tablespoon parsley

Burger Buns

Optional Garnish:

Tomato
Avocado
Cheese
Spinach/ Lettuce

Instructions:

In a small bowl mix together all the ingredients for the sauce. Stir well to blend evenly. Cover and chill in fridge until burgers are ready to eat.

To make the burgers, in a large stainless steel bowl, measure all the ingredients for the burgers. Use your hands to mix well and evenly. If mixture is too runny or wet add more bread crumbs. If you added too much bread crumbs a tablespoon of milk or two should balance it out.

Divide the meat mixture into 4 or 5 even portions, shape into a patty and then gently press a Loonie sized divot into the middle of the burger. For some reason this step will keep the burgers flat as they cook.

Grill prepared burgers for about 7-8 minutes a side until just cooked through.

Gently toast burger buns, Spread about 1 tablespoon of the spicy yogurt sauce on the bun, place the burger, slice of tomato and slices of avocado, cheese, and spinach/lettuce if desired.

Enjoy!

PS, These can be frozen for up to 3-4 months if wrapped tightly.

Other Places:

Something traditional:

Swedish Meatball Sauce

Friday, 20 June 2014

Queen B's Lasagna

This is truly one of the ultimate recipes in my collection. I haven't posted it here because I have known this recipe inside out for well over 10 years. This recipe has pretty much never failed me. Plus there are some options when it comes to preparation with this recipe so you can make it work to suit the needs of your day.

To make recipe in slowcooker:

Follow the instructions for preparing the sauce. Then instead of assembling the lasagna in a deep baking dish you will assemble it in the slowcooker following the order until you have enough layers. Leave the final cheese layer off.  This much can be done the night before, and chilled overnight.

To prepare place insert into slowcooker, turn onto low for up to 6-7 hours, or high or about 3-4 hours.

To finish turn oven onto a high heat and sprinkle final cheese layer over top of the lasagna. Bake uncovered in oven until cheese is melted and golden brown. Let stand 10 minutes on a heat safe surface. Carefully cut and serve.

Freezing:

This recipe can be prepared using disposable tin roasting pans and frozen for up to 3 months. With or without the final cheese layer on top. Just don't forget to add it if you leave it off when freezing!

To prepare, take the frozen lasagna out of the freezer the night before and move to fridge overnight.

Increase cooking time to 2 hours, checking after 1 hour, and every 20 minutes there after. It is heated through when sauce is bubbling around edges and cheese has a toasted look.

You can double check the internal temperature by inserting a butter knife into the center, counting to five and then either touching it with your finger or popping it in your mouth. If it feels warm/hot enough to eat, then it is. A very scientific method I assure you.

Make Ahead:

Follow the instructions for freezing or the whole meal can be prepared up to two days in advance, if carefully wrapped in fridge.

This recipe makes 1-2 family sized lasagnas, or like 4-5 mini sized ones for two-three people, I use a bread pan sometimes to make those.

Queen B's Lasagna 

Ingredients:

1 Can diced tomatoes
1 Can plain tomato sauce
1 Small can of tomato paste
1 Large white onion, finely diced
3-4 Cloves garlic finely minced
1 Green pepper
1 Red pepper
 2 Teaspoons black pepper or more
2 Teaspoons salt or more
1 Tablespoon olive oil
2-3 Tablespoons basil
1-2 Tablespoons oregano
1 Teaspoon thyme
1 Teaspoon garlic powder
1 Teaspoon onion powder
2 Tablespoons parsley
2 Tablespoons Parmesan cheese
1/2- 1 Tablespoon brown sugar
1 Tablespoon Mustard
1 Pound ground beef

2 Cups Cottage or Ricotta Cheese
1/2 Cup shredded Parmesan Cheese
1/2 Cup Mozzarella
1/2 Cup Mixed other Cheeses (Swiss, white cheddar, Asiago, Provolone etc)
1 Box Lasagna Noodles

Plus if you want. . .

4-6 white/button mushrooms diced
1-2 cups fresh spinach
OR 1/2 package frozen chopped spinach
1/4 pound ground pork or sausage
2 Whole dried bay leaves*

* If using bay leaves to season the sauce while it cooks don't forget to remove them before assembling the lasagna. Bay leaves do not break down and soften while cooking, which means they stay sharp and can pose a choking hazard if left in completed dishes.

Special Tools:

Hand immersion blender, not completely needed, but can be used to make a really smooth sauce.

Instructions:

Get a large stock pot on the stove over medium heat, add the olive oil.

While the olive oil heats, dice the onion and mince the garlic. Add onions and garlic to pot, season with salt and pepper and saute for 10 minutes. Transfer sauteed onions and garlic to a small bowl, set aside.

Add ground beef (and if desired, ground pork or sausage). Season with salt and pepper. Scramble cook until cooked through, trying to ensure beef cooks down into even sized pieces. Once cooked through, drain away excess fat, and transfer to a bowl.

Finely dice or pulse in a food processor the green and red bell pepper. 

Return onions and garlic to the pot. Add the bell peppers. Cover and cook 5 minutes.

Drain liquid from can of diced tomatoes, add diced tomatoes to the pot. Add the can of plain tomato sauce and tomato paste to the pot as well. Stir well to evenly blend. 

If desired, use the immersion blender now to puree the sauce until smooth. A large food processor bowl can also be used if it is heat safe.

Stir in the basil, oregano, thyme, garlic powder, onion powder, parsley, Parmesan cheese, brown sugar, and mustard. If you are planning on using any of the optional ingredients, add them now as well. Reduce heat to low. Cover and allow sauce to simmer at least 15 minutes. Taste after 10 and adjust anything as needed.

While sauce is simmering, cook lasagna noodles according to package instructions. When cooked, drain, rinse under cold water, and toss with a little olive oil. Set aside to cool a bit.

To assemble:

I usually use a 9X13 Deep dish brownie style pan for this, but a tin foil roaster of a comparable size or a large slow cooker insert are all workable.

Lightly oil baking dish with cooking spray. Especially the edges.

Shred all the cheeses and get the cottage or ricotta cheese ready to go.

Begin by adding enough sauce to the pan to coat the entire bottom in a thin layer. 

1)Place noodle on top of sauce, across or lengthwise doesn't really matter, and use kitchen shears to cut the noodles to size if needed. Layer the noodles so they just barely overlap to create an even layer of noodle over the sauce.

2) Carefully spoon more sauce over the noodle layer to coat. 

3) Sprinkle about 1/2 tablespoon of Parmesan over top of the sauce. 

4) Arrange some cottage/ ricotta cheese sparsely over top. The cottage and ricotta layer shouldn't be a solid white layer, the sauce should still be very apparent and showing through.

Repeat steps 1-4 until you are out of noodles or the pan is about full. 

To finish the lasagna, spread a thick layer of sauce all over the top of either a final noodle layer, or cheese layer. (You can wrap it up and freeze it now).

To cook, sprinkle the shredded cheeses over top of the lasagna evenly, garnish with some parsley if desired and bake in an oven between 375 and 400°F for about 1 hour, or until sauce is bubbly around edges and cheese is golden.

If cheese begins to get too dark before lasagna is cooked through, cover with tin foil.

To serve, let cooked lasagna stand at room temperature at least 10 minutes.

Use a sharp knife separate the lasagna from the edges of the pan all the way around. Carefully and making sure to cut down through all the noodle layer cut out desired portions. Use a wide spatula to life the lasagna out of pan and onto plates. Be firm and confident or else the lasagna is like to try and make an escape attempt before it goes to the plate. 

Enjoy!

Other Places:

Something Mexican instead?

Guacamole

Quick Italian One-Pot Noodle Bowl

I made this quickly and easily for dinner the other night and even the pasta "disliking" man in my life was thrilled with it.

One-Pot Italian Noodle Bowl

Ingredients:

About 6 Cups Dried Egg Noodles
4-6 Cups Vegetable Stock
Salt and Pepper
1 Tablespoon Olive oil
1 Onion
2-3 Cloves Garlic
1 Tablespoon Basil
1 Tablespoon Oregano
1 Tablespoon Pesto (Optional)
6-12 Ounces Frozen Chopped Spinach, thawed
1-2 Bell Peppers
1/2 Cup Fresh diced tomatoes
1 Can Diced Tomatoes, undrained

Parmesan Cheese
Fresh Parsley Leaves
Shredded cooked chicken, or turkey or meatballs (Optional)

Instructions:

Place a large stock pot on the stove over medium heat and add the olive oil to the pot. Let the olive oil heat for about 8 minutes.

Dice or mince the onion and garlic. Add to heated pot, season with salt and pepper and saute for about 10 minutes.

Dice the bell peppers and tomatoes.

Once onions are soft and slightly translucent, add the bell peppers, fresh tomatoes, canned tomatoes and juice, chopped spinach, vegetable stock, basil, oregano, and pesto. Turn heat up to high and cover with a lid.

Allow the pot to come to a slow boil, about 5-10 minutes. Remove lid, add dried egg noodles and stir so the egg noodles are submerged. Replace pot lid and continue to heat over medium high for 10-15 minutes until noodles are cooked through.

If desired add shredded cooked chicken or turkey, or premade meat balls during last 3 minutes of cook time to heat through.

Once noodles are cooked al dente, ladle a serving into a warmed bowl, garnish with parmesan cheese and parsley.

Goes great with some fresh bread or buns.

Enjoy!

Notes:

This is a supper that can go from not being started to done in about 30 minutes. Great for nights after work. If you are really pressed for time you can skip the step of sauteing the onion and garlic before everything else, to do this simply add all of the ingredients except the garnish, meat and noodles to the pot, bring to a boil and then follow the recipe from there. I only saute the onions before everything else because I am not a huge fan of raw to lightly cooked onion. Something about the texture of it just gets to me. So I like to really cook my onions down in things I plan to eat but if you aren't bothered by under-done onion texture then go ahead and skip that step and get dinner on the table even faster.

Other Places:

Something traditional:

Sweet and Sour Sauce

Sunday, 15 June 2014

Chinese Noodle Bowl

Chinese Noodle Bowl


I know, I served it on a plate but I am still going to call it a noodle bowl

Ingredients:

Sauce:

1/3 Cup Soy Sauce
3 Teaspoons Sesame Seed Oil
1 Teaspoon Olive oil
3 Cloves Garlic
1-2 Tablespoons Ginger Root
1 Lime, zest and juice
Salt

Other Ingredients:

1-2 Teaspoons Chinese Five Spice Powder
2 Teaspoons fresh cracked Black Pepper
Salt
1 Onion
1 Green Bell Pepper
1 Cup fresh Spinach Leaves
3 Chicken Breasts, bone, skin and excess fat removed
2-3 Tablespoons Sesame Seeds
Green Onions
Lemon wedges
4 Servings of Chinese egg noodles, or plain ramen style noodles
Cooking oil

Special Tools:

I always use my big red cast iron wok when doing any sort of Asian meal. . . but I am certain a normal skillet would also work. A big normal skillet.

Instructions:

To prepare the sauce measure out the soy sauce, sesame oil, and olive oil into a small bowl. Peel and grate the ginger, finely dice the garlic cloves and zest the lime. 

In a stone mortar with a pestle smash and mash the grated ginger, diced garlic cloves and lime zest with about 1 teaspoon of salt until it is a fine paste. Add the juice from the lime and mix well. 

Add the paste mix to the small bowl and gently whisk until evenly combined.

Slice the chicken into finger sized strips, or however you like to dice your chicken. In a large stainless steel bowl add 1/3 Cup of the sauce and the sliced chicken breasts. Turn the chicken breasts in the bowl to coat them with the marinade. Allow chicken to marinate for at least 15 minutes, but can be marinated over night as well.The longer it marinates the stronger the flavor will be in the chicken. Set aside the remaining sauce.

Finely mince the onion and chop the green bell pepper, if desired shred or chop the spinach as well. 

In a dry large skillet over medium heat, toast the sesame seeds, shaking/stirring occasionally until they are lightly golden and very fragrant. Once sesame seeds are toasted transfer to a small bowl and set aside.

Return the skillet to the stove and lightly oil it. Allow the oil to heat for about 5-8 minutes.

Set a large pot of salted water to boil over high heat.

Add the onion to the heated skillet, season with salt, pepper and about 1/2 teaspoon of the five spice blend. Saute the onion until translucent and beginning to soften. Add the chicken to the skillet. Season the chicken with salt, pepper, and more of the five spice blend. 

Stir fry cook the chicken until cooked through and no longer pink inside. This takes between 10-20 minutes.

Once chicken is cooked through, drain any excess water that might have collected in the skillet.

Add the bell pepper and spinach. Cover and steam cook the vegetables for about 5 minutes. 

By now the pot of water should be boiling, add the noodles and cook according to package directions. 

Add the remaining sauce to the skillet. Add the cooked noodles and using kitchen tongs, gently turn the noodles over to coat them in the sauce and distribute the chicken and vegetables.

Finely slice the green onions.

To serve, transfer desired portion into a bowl, garnish with toasted sesame seeds, sliced green onions and a lemon wedge.

Enjoy!

Other Places:

Something for a party:

Cheese Ball

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Recipe Test - Chef John's Chicken Kiev

Recipe Test - Chef John's Chicken Kiev

What Chef John Says:

"I'm not going to say this chicken Kiev is ‘easy to make.' It's really not. So, why try? Because, if and when you pull this off, you'll be enjoying one of the greatest chicken experiences of your life. It's also one of the greatest garlic experiences of your life, as well as one of the greatest butter experiences of your life."

Original Recipe Here

I have moved into a lovely new home, with a big kitchen with lovely windows to look out of and best of all a dishwasher! So to test out this new kitchen I thought I should test my kitchen skills with something I hadn't tried before. Stuffed chicken breast of some kind. . . 

I have tried to stuff other things before and most of the time it has been a pretty dire mess or disaster. But Chef John says I can do this!

What is Chicken Kiev?

A chicken fillet stuffed with herb and garlic butter, lightly fried and roasted to perfection. The goal of course being to keep all the butter inside the chicken until it is served and then the person enjoying the dish gets a lovely ooze of melted butter onto their plate upon cutting in.

The tricky part? Keeping butter inside the chicken until that moment.

Changes Made:

He describes rolling the chicken into a ball shape. Mine ended up looking more like chicken cigars. . . But other than that I followed this recipe to the letter.

Results:



I made it!

Chef John sure knows his stuff! Chicken was perfectly cooked when I followed his cooking times, and when I sliced in, the melted butter oozed onto the plate which was perfect to dip the mashed potato and chicken alike in. Wont and can't lie though, while this was excellent and delicious and did follow through on the promises of the recipe it seriously took me forever and a day it felt like to get this chicken dish together. 

Might be worth it on a day off but this isn't a recipe to try and throw together after work or anything. But I enjoy a challenge and this was a good challenge for this week. 

Other Places:

Something easier:

Raspberry- Rhubarb Pie

Oh goodness, I was walking past my local grocers and saw fresh local rhubarb on the lovely little display they had out front. Literally stopped in my tracks, looked at it, and bought it. I am a girl who loves her rhubarb.

Raspberry-Rhubarb Pie


Ingredients:

2 Cups frozen or fresh Raspberries (or strawberries)
2 Cups diced Rhubarb
2//3 Cups sugar, divided in two parts (1/3 each)
1 Lime
3-4 Tablespoons Flour

1 Recipe Pie Dough

Instructions:

Filling:

In  a small sauce pan combine 1/3 cup of sugar, with the diced rhubarb. Zest the lime and squeeze the juice into the pot as well. Stir well and heat over medium heat just until the rhubarb is starting to soften. Overcooking will lead to rhubarb jelly and a soggy bottomed pie.

In a large bowl measure the raspberries and the remaining 1/3 cup sugar. Stir well. Add the rhubarb mixture to the bowl and stir to mix evenly Add the flour and stir well again. Cover and let stand in the fridge for at least an hour. 

Pie:

Prepare the pie crust if making one from scratch (Fresh pie dough needs to chill for about 1 hour before use so time accordingly), or a 9 inch prepared pie crust will also work.

Lightly spray a 9 inch pie pan with cooking spray. 

Prepare the pie by dividing dough in half and rolling one half out into a large circle, rolling the dough circle onto your rolling pin and transferring to the pie pan. Allowing for some overhang of dough around the edges of the pie pan.

Remove filling from fridge and stir again. Pour filling into pie crust. Roll out remaining pie dough half into a large circle and roll it up onto the rolling pin to transfer to the top.

To seal the pie together; carefully roll the upper crust, around and under the bottom crust all the way around the circumference of the pie pan, trimming away excess. Using the first finger and thumb of both hands, gently pinch this rolled rim into the fluted shape pie crusts usually have. Google it if you have no idea, it is really hard to explain in words how to do it, I had grandmothers teach me these things. . .

To add pie decorations like I did (the hearts in a clover pattern on top), gather up any dough scraps you have, knead a few times and roll out thinly. Cut out desired shapes. To affix decorations to pie crust, fill a small dip bowl with milk, and using a pastry or silicone brush, gently brush some milk over the crust where the decoration is going to go, place the decoration on and brush the top and sides of the cut out with more milk.

Brush the entire top of the pie with a very thin brushing of milk to prevent excess browning. Cut a few vent slits in the top of the pie to allow steam to escape while it bakes.

Bake pie at 425°F for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 350°F and bake for about another 60 minutes. The pie filling will puff the crust a bit from below when it is baked through. Or when the filling has thickened and the crust is golden brown.

If the edges of your pie are getting too dark before it is finished baking you can make a cheap pie shield from tin foil by cutting a small circle out of the center of a large sheet. Thus letting the middle continue to bake without burning the edge.

To freeze the pie and bake later, add an extra tablespoon of flour to the filling mixture before adding it to the crust. finish preparing the pie as described. Then wrap completed, unbaked pie in plastic wrap very well, and freeze for up to three months. To bake, remove from freezer and thaw in fridge over night. Follow rest of baking instructions, frozen pie may take longer to finish baking.

Enjoy!


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Something to improve the recipe even more?

Whipped Cream.