Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Chicken Schnitzel with Cucumber and Dill Salad

I have not been one to cook a lot of fried food and definitely not with the added calories of breadcrumbs. But after all the Christmas leftovers were used up and we were still in holiday mode, I enjoyed some time pouring over my new Christmas cookbooks and these chicken schnitzels by Annabel Karmel from her book Annabel's Family Cookbook, caught my eye. 

The cucumber salad accompaniment topped off a lovely balance of flavours too.

This dish turned out to be quite inexpensive, quick, easy with not too many ingredients which  hit the spot nicely on all fronts.

Ingredients (plenty for 2 - could feed 4 for a light lunch)
2 skinless chicken breasts
50g plain flour
2 medium eggs beaten
100g white bread
11/2 tbsp chopped fresh thyme
2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
30g grated parmesan cheese
Some vegetable oil
Salt and Pepper

What to do……
Put the chicken on a board cover with cling film/glad wrap and hammer using a rolling pin until quite thin.
Slice each breast in half.
Put flour in a shallow dish
Whisk eggs in a separate bowl
To make the breadcrumbs - tear the bread into pieces and put in a food processor with the herbs and the cheese, process until it forms crumbs. Tip into a shallow bowl. 
Lay the chicken in the flour and cover both sides and then dip in the egg and season and then into the crumbs, press firmly on both sides.
Heat the oil and butter in a large frying pan
Fry the chicken for 3-4 minutes on each side (in batches if required) then set aside.

In the meantime make the cucumber salad.

1 cucumber
1 1/2 tbsp freshly chopped dill
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
1 tbsp mirin
2 tbsp light olive oil

What to do …..
Top and tail the cucumber
slice in half lengthways, then into thin half moon shapes.
Place in a bowl with the dill.
Mix all the dressing ingredients together and put over salad
Serve the hot schnitzels beside the cold salad.

Lovely! and not too fattening after all the christmas over indulgence. 

Monday, 12 January 2015

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

Just before we say goodbye to 2014 and welcome in 2015 let me wish everyone Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

Don't know where this post disappeared to - but is here now!

Friday, 26 December 2014

My Christmas Fridge

My fridge is a scary thing!  Visitors who open it are taken aback …. they turn and look at me for an explanation.  The only thing I can say is "its got nothing to do with me" and then they give me that look of pity and then empathy. I live with a fridge obsessive, what more can I say.
Joining with Belleau Kitchen Random Recipe #46 your #Christmas Fridge
Merry Christmas everyone.

Thursday, 4 December 2014

Coconut Ice for the Birthday Girl

Matilda was 2 yesterday and had an "Alice in Wonderland - Mad Hatter's Tea Party" on Sunday which was a glorious day. Dress ups were in order and so was a table full of tea party cakes!

I haven't made coconut ice for years but inspired recently by the blog of "Hotly Spiced" with delicately  pink jewels gracing her page, I thought this would make a perfect addition to the themed tea party.
This way to Matilda's party
Chalkboard with Chapter 1- Alice in Wonderland
Coconut Ice is better made the day before so that it has plenty of time to set hard in the fridge. Even though there is no cooking involved I remember there being some fairly heavy mixing action required. But I have some quick tips for that!

Matilda's amazing birthday cake

Matilda's mummy setting up the cake table
Ingredients ............…..
4 cups dessicated coconut
3 1/2 cups icing sugar
1 x 390 gm tin condensed milk
Pink food colouring

1x 8" square cake tin

What to do......................

Sift icing sugar into a mixing bowl,
Add coconut and mix thoroughly  so that the coconut and sugar are evenly distributed.

Cake Table

Now here is the trick......…..

Divide this coconut and sugar combo in half and place into separate mixing bowls.

Bowl No.1 will remain white

Bowl No.2 will be coloured pink

Pour half the tin of condensed milk into Bowl No.1 and mix with a knife to combine all the liquid, mix with your hands to combine as required, so that this becomes a smooth ball.

Set aside this white coconut ice.

Add a few drops of pink food colouring to the remaining half tin of condensed milk and stir to make it an even colour.

Pour the pink condensed milk into Bowl No.2  and repeat mixing process above.

This is so much easier than trying to add food colouring to an already solid ball of mixed ingredients. I was a little heavy handed with my Rose colouring, but then what little girls don't like a vibrant splash of pink at a party? I must get a dropper for this purpose in the future.

Lightly oil/grease an 8" square cake tin

Press the first layer of white mixture into the bottom of the cake tin - ensuring the mixture is evenly spread over the bottom of the tin.

Then add the pink layer on the top.

Cover with glad wrap and place in the fridge over night.

The next day turn the coconut ice out onto a board and cut into bite size pieces.  Mine made 64 small pop straight in your mouth - 1 bite size pieces perfect for little birthday parties.

Matilda in her Alice dress


Friday, 31 October 2014

From the sunbed - Far North Queensland

I have not done much cooking over the last couple of days but we have done quite a bit of eating and drinking. Holidays are such wonderful things!
We  rose on Wednesday at the ungodly hour of 3.30am, left home at 4.30am and after a brisk walk across the Tarmac at Tullamarine  board the plane at 5.30am and flew north to Cairns arriving at 9.30am Queensland time (no daylight savings here). Another hours drive north by bus along the idyllic coastline to Port Douglas and into the grounds of the Sheraton mirage resort. Ah... A deep breath .....it's like coming home it is so familiar to us.. It means relax, completely chill and do nothing for the next 10 days, except whatever we want at a slow tropical pace. Over the last decade it is one of our most favourite places to holiday without having to leave the mainland.
The Sheraton Mirage was built on the shoreline of Four Mile Beach by the infamous Christopher Skase back in the 70s, it spreads over acres of beautiful tropical gardens, villas built within the  18 hole golf course, and crystal clear man-made swimming lagoons surround the hotel itself. Back in the 70s it was THE places for the rich and famous to holiday. Now days the huge hotel is in need of a makeover, it is a little tired in places and the maintenance and upkeep would be never ending. But the grandeur the vision and design of the resort is timeless and there is nothing like it in Port Douglas. And I have to say we love it even though some of it is a little dated.

Over the years we have done all the tourist things, been out to the Great Barrier Reef, on the Quick Silver, down in the glass bottom boat to view the coral and fish life, up in a helicopter to view the Daintree and reef from above and down the Inlet through the mangroves in a flat bottom tinnie to capture a glimpse of the crocs that survive in the warm tributaries. So now days our main focus is on sun,swim and where to eat, and there are plenty of those.