Saturday, March 27, 2010

Croutons of fried apple and goat's cheese

Hello everyone, well, for those of you wondering where I ended up having dinner last Saturday, it was Aki's at Woolloomooloo Bay Wharf It was a perfect early autumn evening and we were seated outside so could soak up the setting sun and all the atmosphere down there. We had a gorgeous meal and best of all, Chris gave me a very treasured farewell gift - Matthew Evan's new book, The Real Food Companion How lucky am I? I know that this will be a book I use very regularly and refer to all the time. I can't wait to start reading it over Easter!

This week's recipe is a hint of the cool evenings that must be going to reach us eventually, although I don't mind summer playing out as long as possible. It comes from the Autumn/Winter edition of SOS and is heaven.

Have a happy week. Love from Jane xxx

Croutons of fried apple and goats cheese

Serves eight

What you need:
  • 250g butter
  • 6 fresh and crisp red apples, cored and sliced
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 loaf of country style bread
  • About 500g mature goats cheese, sliced

What you do:

  1. Melt half the butter in a large pan.
  2. Toss the apple slices in the butter and cook gently for about 15 minutes, turning until tender and a little caramelised.
  3. Season with salt and pepper, then transfer to a dish and keep warm.
  4. Cut 8 slices of bread.
  5. Fry the bread slices in the remaining melted butter until golden on both sides.
  6. Pile the slices of apple on to the croutons and top with the slices of cheese.
  7. Serve immediately with a green salad.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Pan fried chicken with lemon

Hello everyone, it's such a gorgeous day today in Sydney! You would think it was summer time.

My neighbours who live in the house behind me are selling their house and had the first open house today. What a half hour of entertainment that provided for Bellatrix! Although she couldn't see anyone, she set herself up in a shady spot in the back yard and followed the sound of everyone who came to look. Her ears twitched continuously - it made me wonder if she was listening to each person and deciding if they would be welcome as our new neighbours or not. Clearly I have a huge stickybeak of a cat.

This week's recipe is from the December 2009/January 2010 issue of delicious and really is delicious! It is lovely and lemony and makes a great dinner, either just for you, the family or guests.

I have one more dinner with my friend Chris, tonight. I am (generously) letting him select the restaurant and am yet to hear his choice. I'm sure it will be a good one...

Have a great week. Love from Jane xx

Pan fried chicken with lemon

Serves two

What you need:
  • 1 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 20g unsalted butter
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup plain flour, seasoned with salt and pepper
  • 2 x 200g chicken breast fillets, cut into 5mm strips
  • 100ml dry white wine
  • 100ml chicken stock
  • 1 teaspoon caster sugar
  • 2 teaspoons roughly chopped marjoram
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped flat leaf parsley

What you do:

  1. Use a zester to make thin strips of lemon rind, then peel the lemon and thinly slice the flesh. Set zest and flesh aside.
  2. Heat half of the oil and half of the butter in a large non stick frying pan over a medium heat.
  3. Add the onion and cook, stirring, for 3-4 minutes until softened. Remove the onion from the heat and set aside.
  4. Toss the chicken in the flour to coat, shaking off the excess.
  5. Return the pan to a medium high heat and add the remaining oil and butter.
  6. In batches, cook the chicken for one minute, turning, until golden.
  7. Return the onion and all of the chicken to the pan, and add the wine, simmering for a couple of minutes until almost evaporated.
  8. Add the lemon zest, lemon segments, sugar and enough stock to almost cover the chicken.
  9. Bring to the boil, then simmer for a few minutes until the chicken is cooked and the liquid has reduced by half.
  10. Season to taste with salt and pepper, then toss through the marjoram and parsley.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Cornflake coconut crunchies

Hello everyone, it has been a hectic week with my gorgeous friend Chris Andersen from Minneapolis in town. We have been catching up with lots of different friends in all sorts of fabulous places around Sydney. I loved cocktails and smart bar food at Rockpool Bar and Grill,, dinner at Mission Restaurant and Bar and lunch at North Sydney Cellars Cafe To say nothing of a hot chocolate at Bather's Cafe....And last night I had dinner at a great find in North Turramurra of all places, The Cook's Garden It's in a house and really beautifully done up. The food was luscious and there's a shop at the front where you can buy chocolates and handbags! It really doesn't get any better!

So to calm me down, this week's recipe is a very easy biscuit mix, which I made recently for a crowd. You can whip up the mix in five minutes and then have the biscuits in and out of the oven in no time at all. They are deliciously moist with all the coconut they contain. Do use a good brand coconut, not some cheap and nasty generic product. The recipe comes from my Women's Weekly Biscuits And Slices book.

Have a happy week! Love from Jane xx

Cornflake coconut crunchies

Makes about 40, depending on how you size them.

What you need:
  • 2 cups cornflakes, which you can either lightly crush or leave whole
  • 2 cups self raising flour
  • 1 cup flaked coconut
  • 1 cup shredded coconut
  • 1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 250g butter, melted

What you do:
  1. Preheat the oven to 190C.
  2. Line two baking trays with baking paper.
  3. Combine the corn flakes, sifted flour, both coconuts and brown sugar in a large bowl.
  4. Stir in the eggs and butter.
  5. Place spoonsful of the mixture onto the baking trays, leaving some space in between.
  6. Bake for about 12 minutes, or until lightly browned.
  7. Remove from the oven and after a couple of minutes transfer the biscuits to wire racks to cool.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Roman summer skewers

Hello everyone, I just had my regular visit from our local Jehovah's Witnesses. I know that many people don't like having these people turn up on their doorstep, bible in hand, but I must say I don't mind it at all and in fact really enjoy the couple of minutes they spend with me. I'd much rather the JWs than those annoying sales representatives flogging pay TV! (Who always reel in shock when I admit that actually I rarely turn on the set...) Anyway, in the eleven years that I have been living here I have been visited by various representatives of the JWs and they are always very lovely, gentle people who aren't afraid of talking about their faith. Usually they give me a couple of their magazines and read me a line or two from the bible and we have a bit of general chit-chat. Currently it is a teenager called Imogen who calls by with her Mum and today her little sister Ruby as well. They are such nice people and I feel blessed to have a minute with them.

But you are here for my recipe, not my musings on who arrives at the doorstep! This week's recipe is another great party one that I have tried out. I found it in Good Living in a feature from a book that had been published recently called Party: The Complete Guide To Food And Drinks. This one is soooooo simple but very effective. Try it next time you are asked to bring a dish to a party and you'll see what I mean!

Have a lovely week. Jane xx

Roman Summer Skewers

Makes 20

What you need:
  • 20 cherry bocconcini
  • 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon pesto (Even better if you make it yourself; check my recipe in November 2008)
  • 40 small fresh basil leaves
  • 20 cherry tomatoes
  • 20 pitted black olives
  • 20 cocktail sticks (supermarket)

What you do:

  1. Drain the bocconcini and place in a bowl with the olive oil and pesto.
  2. Stir until coated, cover and leave to marinate for 15-20 minutes.
  3. Thread the bocconcini, a tomato, two basil leaves and an olive on to each stick.
  4. Arrange on a platter and serve.

That's it!