The New Roast Chicken

Serves: 4

I cooked this recipe – originally from Delicious Magazine – years ago and it is really just so impressive. Really rewarding.

It’s a roast chicken on Monday night.

Ingredients

1/3 c olive oil
3 garlic cloves
1 tbsp chopped thyme leaves
4 skinless breast fillets
12 slices flat pancetta
4 slices sourdough bread
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
1/3 c flat-leaf parsley
40gm unsalted butter
1 tbsp plain flour
1 c white wine
2 c chicken stock
2 tbsp dry sherry or white wine
Steamed green beans to serve

Method

  1. Combine 2 tbsp olive oil in a bowl with 1 crushed garlic clove and thyme leaves. Season the chicken breasts and coat in garlic oil. Wrap each breast with 3 slices of pancetta slightly overlapping. Enclose chicken in plastic wrap and chill for 2 – 3 hours.
  2. Preheat the oven to 190c. Break bread into rough pieces and i and toss in 1 tbsp oil. Place on a baking tray in a single layer and cook for 10 minutes or until golden and crisp. Cool slightly and pulse in a food processor with lemon zest parsley and remaining garlic until you have coarse crumbs. Season.
  3. Heat remaining 1 tbsp oil in an ovenproof frypan over a medium-high heat. Remove chicken from plastic wrap and cook, turning for 2 – 3 minutes until browned all over, then cook in the oven for 10 – 12 minute or until the chicken is cooked through. Remove from the oven, add butter to the pan and baste chicken with the melted butter. Remove chicken from the pan and cover with foil while you make the gravy.
  4. Return frypan to medium heat and cook flour, stirring for 1 minute until lightly browned. Add wine and cook for 2 – 3 minutes, then add stock. Bring to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes until the gravy is thickened. Add sherry to taste. Slice chicken and serve with gravy and green beans, scattered with breadcrumbs.

Gretta Anna’s Pork Chops with Mustard, Apples and Garlic Cabbage

Serces: 6

This is just a wonderful bit of Provincial bistro cooking. So tasty, so simple, so warming.

Nat cooked this for lunch in the heart of winter last year and it totally nailed the brief.

French cooking luxury on a budget.

Ingredients

50gm butter for pork
6 foreloin pork chops
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 cooking apples, peeled, cored and cut into lengths

Onion mustard sauce

25gm butter
3 onions, chopped
350ml dry sherry
150ml chicken stock
150ml pure cream
3 generous tsp Dijon mustard
2 tsp cornflour mixed with 2 tbsp water

Garlic cabbage

25gm butter
2 large onions, chopped
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 – 5 large garlic cloves, crushed
3 tbsp chopped flat leaf parsley (stalks and all)
1/4 cabbage, finely sliced

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180c.
  2. Heat 50gm butter in a fry pan over a medium heat and sauté the pork chops for 5 minutes each side, turning until golden. Transfer the chops to a casserole dish.
  3. To make the onion mustard sauce, heat the butter in a frying pan over a medium heat and sauté the onions for 5 minutes until soft though not coloured. Add the sherry, stock, cream and mustard, then stir the cornflour mixture in to thicken. Simmer for 2 minutes, then add to the casserole dish with the chops. Season with salt and pepper and cover with a lid.
  4. Cook in the oven for 40 minutes, then add the apple and cook for another 10 minutes, until the apple pieces are soft but not falling apart. Remove all the fat from the top using a spoon or a ladle.
  5. To make the garlic cabbage, heat the butter in a frying pan over a medium heat and sauté for 5 minutes until soft though not coloured. Add salt, pepper and garlic and sauté for 1 – 2 minutes and add the parsley. Add the cabbage and toss for a couple of minutes until the cabbage is heated through and coated with the buttery mixture, but still crisp.
  6. Serve the pork with the garlic cabbage.

David Tanis’ Braised Chicken with Lemon and Olives

Serves: 4 – 6

I love a simple recipe that comes good and this one simply delivers.

It’s a bake (✅), it’s reasonably healthy (✅) and it’s easy (✅).

Though it’s the richness of wonderful Mediterranean flavour that truly gets it over the line. (✅).

It is better than the seeming sum of its parts and bravo for it.

The richness of the reserved stock, the break apart chicken… and those olives.

This is a mid-week meal that will set the clock forward to Friday when the cooking can commence. It’s just that good, that fun and that successful.

Paired with a salad of greens, red onion, tomato, maybe some cucumber and plenty of oregano and a good vinaigrette: I reckon only a bottle of chilled red along-side could better it.

Lock next Wednesday evening in and the road to the weekend just got much easier.

And chill that red.

Ingredients

8 chicken thighs (ideally skin-on and bone in)
Salt and freshly cracked pepper
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
6 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp crushed fennel seeds
1 tbsp roughly chopped rosemary
1 tbsp olive oil
2 lemons, cut into 8 wedges each
1 c olives, black and green pitted
1 c chicken stock
3 tbsp chopped parsley to serve

Method

  1. Pat chicken thighs dry with paper towels. Season well with salt and pepper and place in a baking dish one layer, (skin) side up. Sprinkle with red pepper, garlic, fennel and rosemary and drizzle with olive oil. Rub seasoning on all sides. Tuck lemon wedges here and there, marinating for 15 minutes. Heat the oven to 190c.
  2. Put the baking dish in the oven for 20 minutes uncovered (or until the skin, if you have it, starts to brown). Scatter olives over evenly and then pour over the stock. Cover tightly and bake for 1 hour.
  3. Remove thighs and lemon wedges and arrange on a platter and keep warm. Pour pan juices into a saucepan and quickly skim fat from the surface. Over high heat, simmer rapidly until reduced by half. Spoon juices over the chicken, sprinkle with parsley and serve.

Gretta Anna’s Coulibiac (Russian Salmon Pie)

Serves: 8

This is one hell of a decadent – and very pleasantly unusual – pie.

Something that Tsar’s no doubt enjoyed a hundred years back.

Scan the ingredients and you would have to agree.

There is a bit of effort in it – thanks Nat – and the handling of the filo pastry was touch and go; make sure you reduce the smoked salmon and mushroom mixtures until well thickened.

Also, we agreed that using fresh salmon might lighten the pie slightly, though the smoked salmon is subtle and the whole point of this pie is to live the good life.

Lobster or prawn bisque can be found at good delis and fishmongers.

Otherwise, I commend the Coulibiac to you. It is such a classic.

Ingredients

10 sheets filo pastry
100gm butter, melted
2 c walnuts, chopped
Beaten egg, for brushing
350gm sour cream (optional)
3 spring onions, finely diced (optional)
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Rice Mixture

1/2 c medium-grain white rice
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 tbsp chopped dill
4 golden shallots, chopped
2 tbsp toasted pine nuts

Mushroom Mixture

400gm mushrooms, chopped
90gm butter
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
200ml pure cream
2 tsp cornflour mixed with 2 tbsp water
1 1/2 tbsp chopped marjoram

Smoked salmon mixture

1 x 400gm tin prawn or lobster bisque
400 ml pure cream
170gm smoked salmon, chopped
1 x 185gm tin crabmeat, drained and chopped
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 hard-boiled eggs, chopped

Method

  1. To make the rice mixture, cook the rice until tender. Season with salt and pepper, then mix in the dill, shallots and pine nuts. Place in the refridgerator until required.
  2. To make the mushroom mixture, sauté the mushrooms in the butter in a frying pan until soft, then season with salt and pepper and add the cream. Stir in the cornflour mixture to thicken, then add the majoram. Place in the refridgerator until required.
  3. To make the smoked salmon mixture, place the bisque into a saucepan with the cream and and bring to the boil, whisking until it thickens. Add the salmon and crabmeat and season with salt and pepper. Add the boiled egg. Place in the refridgerator until needed.
  4. Preheat the oven to 190c and grease an overnproof serving dish.
  5. Place 2 sheets of filo pastry on the bench top with 2 further sheets alongside the first two. Brush the top sheet of each set of filo pastry sheets with melted butter and chopped walnuts. Add 2 more sheets of the follow to each set and add more melted butter and chopped walnuts. Add the last 2 sheets of filo, one on top of each set.
  6. Leaving a 5cm space top and bottom (to allow for tuck-in when rolling), place a 10cm band of each of the three mixtures (using half of each mixture), one on top of the other, down one set of pastry. Brush the pastry edges with beaten egg and fold the pastry over the top and bottom. Fold the pastry in on both sides of the mixture to form a roll, tucking in both tops and bottoms as they are rolled.
  7. Repeat with the other set of pastry and remaining filling.
  8. Place the two rolls in the prepared serving dish and brush with melted butter. Sprinkle with remaining chopped walnuts and bake for about 40 minutes until crisp and golden
  9. Combine the sour cream with the spring onions and season with salt and pepper. Serve the coulibiac in slices with the sour cream, or leave it unsauced.

Gary Mehigan’s Karaage Chicken Burgers with Onion Slaw and Wasabi Mayo

Makes: 4

When it comes to burgers, we absolutely love it when we stumble on a burger that breaks into our top burgers of all time.* We can’t stop smiling.

And so here is one of those burgers, plated by my mother at a recent American-themed lunch. (And yes, I get that this burger, other than the bun and the fried chicken is the antithesis of an American burger!)

In his book, Gary references a time on Masterchef with Gordon Ramsay where Gordon was unimpressed by a challenge where contenstants plated up all manner of burgers; though where none of them were conventional or centered around a traditional patty.

As Gary says, Gordon might be right, though he hasn’t had this burger.

(Gordon is wrong. This is an excellent, excellent burger.)

Ingredients

4 chicken thighs
1/2 c katakuriko potato starch
1 c panko breadcrumbs
Peanut or sunflower oil for shallow-frying
4 soft brioche-style burger buns
1 ripe avacado, sliced
2 c mizuna or rocket leaves

Chicken marinade

2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp mirin
2 tsp finely grated ginger
2 cloves garlic, grated

Onion slaw

1 white onion, thinly sliced
1 c shredded daikon
1 tbsp pickled ginger, finely chopped
1/4 c rice vinegar

Wasabi mayonaise

1/3 c Kewpie mayonnaise
2 – 3 tsp wasabi paste (depending on taste)

Method

  1. To make the marinade, combine the ingredients in a medium bowl. Add the chicken and stir through to coat. Cover and marinade in the fridge for at least 1 hour and up to 6 hours.
  2. Meanwhile, for the onion slaw. combine all the ingredients and set aside. For the mayo, combine the ingredients and refridgerate until using.
  3. Combine the potato startch and panko crumbs in a bowl, then add the chicken pieces and mix thoroughly with your hands to coat.
  4. Prepare a tray with a wire rack and tongs and set to one side in preparation to fry the chicken, Pour oil into a deep frying pan to a depth of 1.5cm, then heat over a medium-high heat until the oil reaches 160c. Adjust the heat as necessary to maintain the temperature.
  5. Gently lower the chicken pieces into the hot oil with the tongs ad cook for 6 – 8 minutes, turning halfway, until evenly cooked through and crispy. You can check to see if the chicken is cooked using a thermometer – it should read above 65c. Lift the chicken from the oil with the tongs and place on a wire rack to drain. (If you feel that the chicken still needs a cooking nudge though you have already have a dark crunchy outside, place in an oven on 180c for a few minutes).
  6. Cut the buns in haf and cook under a grill until golden. Smear the cut side of the top half with a generous dollop of the wasabi mayonnaise. Place a little avacado and slaw on the base, add the crispy chicken, then the greens and sandwich together.

* Those burgers that Nat and I reckon have made that list – that have been absolute homeruns – are:

Anjum Anand’s Best Ever Burger with Spiced Onions
Gordon Ramsay 1-million Subscriber Burger (ironic I know)
Jamie Oliver’s Insanity Burger
Neil Perry’s ‘Hamburger’ (my favourite)

Nigel Slater’s Pork Belly with Peach Salsa

Serves: 4

Cudos where cudos are due.

My mother strongly suggested we cook this recipe, what with the narrow window where beautiful, ripe peaches are in season.

And we almost didn’t do it.

The fact that you’re reading it here would hopefully indicate that is was a win.

The spice rub and the salsa work so well together, especially if you get the crackling, really crackling. Leaving the belly in the fridge overnight, uncovered is a great way to achieve this, before adding the rub.

With a simple bowl of steamed rice and some Asian greens on the side, this was a wonderful, wonderful dinner and one which you should definitely try this summer.

While you can!

(Note: I did the salsa in a food processor and I am not sure why you wouldn’t.)

Ingredients

Pork belly, skin finely scored*
3 cloves garlic
2 tbsp light soy sauce
1 tbsp peanut oil
2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp dried chilli flakes
1 tsp Chinese five spice
2 spring onions, finely chopped
1 red chilli, finely chopped with seeds
3 peaches, peeled and finely chopped
8 cherry tomatoes, chopped
1 small bunch coriander, chopped
Juice of 2 limes
3 tbsp olive oil
Sea salt and freshly cracked pepper

Method

  1. Crush the garlic to a paste and combine with the soy sauce, peanut oil, salt, chilli flakes and five spice and spread over the skin and flesh of the pork and allow to marinate for at least 4 hours or ovenight.
  2. Preheat the over to 220c and roast the poek, skin-side up, for 20 minutes.
  3. Reduce the heat to 200c and continue roasting for another 40 – 50 minutes, or until the skin is dark and crisp.
  4. Toss together the spring onions, chilli, peaches, tomatoes, coriander, lime juice and olive oil, season and serve with the pork.

* Leave the belly in the freezer until it is starting to freeze and at this point, scoring is a much easier task.

Neil Perry’s Prawn Scrambled Eggs

Serves: 2 as a starter

Neil Perry is famous for his Asian omelettes and my first experience was in 1997 when I graduated from school (boarding school no-less) and in a surprise, my old-man picked me up and we drove into the Sydney CBD and had lunch at the original Rockpool.

We had Neil’s famous blue swimmer crap omelette and it was just awesome.

This particular dish is simpler – incredibly simple in fact – though it is that simplicity that makes it just such a wonderful treat.

What a cracking starter by Nat for a long afternoon of Chinese grazing.

Ingredients

300gm green king prawns, peeled and deveined
2 large eggs
3 tbsp vegetable oil
1 spring onion, sliced

Sauce

2 tbsp light soy sauce
1 tsp sugar
A few drops of sesame oil

Method

  1. To make the sauce, combine the soy sauce, sugar and sesame oil with 2 tbsp water in a small pot and bring to the boil, then remove from the heat.
  2. Break the eggs into a bowl and lightly break up with a fork.
  3. Heat a wok until it is almost smoking, Add half the oil and, when hot, stir-fry the prawns in two batches until almost cooked through. Remove the prawns and wipe the wok clean.
  4. Heat the remaining oil and stir fry the eggs until just beginning to set, then add the prawns and spring onion and gently toss together. Remove from the heat, spoon onto a plate and pour the warm sauce over the eggs to serve.

Neil Perry’s Stir-Fried Blue Eye with Snake Beans

Serves: 4

Another cracking dried curry – which I love – and one from Neil Perry’s book Balance and Harmony: cooked by Nat no less as part of a long Covid lockdown lunch.

I appreciate that pastes can be painful on first inspection though take the time. This is how we make the food that we love, right?

Dried shrimp and shrimp paste are easily gettable and the rest is mainstream.

Enjoy. (I certainly did with a side-bowl of steamed white rice.)

Ingredients

300gm blue eye fillet, cut into bite sized pieces
8 snake beans, cut into 3cm pieces
100ml vegetable oil
2 tbsp grated palm sugar
2 tbsp fish sauce
2 tsp dried shrimp, soaked in warm water for 20 minutes

Spice Paste

1/2 tsp white peppercorns
1/2 tsp fennel seeds
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
2 dried long red chillies, deseeded, soaked in warm water for 30 minutes and chopped
1 tsp sea salt
3 red shallots, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tsp finely chopped galangal
1 lemongrass stalk, tough outer leaves removed, chopped
6 coriander roots, scraped and chopped
1 tsp Thai shrimp paste, wrapped in foil and roasted until fragrant

Method

  1. To make the spice paste, lightly roast the peppercorns, fennel and cumin seeds in a dry heavy-based pan until very fragrant and dark, then grind to a powder in a spice grinder. The pound all the past ingredients in a mortar and pestle until you have a fine paste. (Or use a blender, adding a little water if necessary.)
  2. Boil the beans until tender, then drain and refresh in iced water.
  3. Heat a wok until smoking. Add half the oil and, when hot, stir-fry the blue eye in batches until golden, then remove. Add the remaining oil to the pan and stir fry the spice paste until fragrant, then add the palm sugar, fish sauce, beans and shrimp and toss together. Return the blue eye to the wok and stir-fry for 1 minute.

Ajoy Joshi’s Pepper and Garlic Chicken

Serves: 4 – 6

Another cracking Ajoy Joshi recipe, where according to Ajoy, this recipe began life at the Nagarjuna Restaurant in Bangalore where it is renowned for this Tamil Nadu dish.

The steaming of the chicken is clever, finishing it in ghee (Ajoy asks for oil and unsalted butter) until golden.

We served this on steamed rice with mint sauce, lots of chutney and coriander… and it was excellent. It reminded us of eating Nilgiri’s (Ajoy’s wonderful lower North Shore restaurant) and on that basis, it has to be typed.

Ingredients

1 cinnamon stick, about 7.5cm long
2 tsp green cardamom pods
1 tsp whole cloves
1 tsp whole peppercorns
1/3 c chopped fresh coriander
36 fresh curry leaves
Juice of 1 1/2 lemons
1 fresh mild long green chilli, finely chopped
2 tbsp minced garlic
2 tsp tamarind concentrate
1 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp salt
1kg skinless, boneless chicken thighs, trimmed of fat and halved crosswise
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1/4 unsalted butter (N.B. We substituted oil/butter with ghee)
Mango pickle/chutney to serve
Steamed rice to serve
Coriander to serve
Mint sauce to serve

Method

  1. In a spice grinder, combine cinnamon, cardamom, cloves and peppercorns and grind to a fine powder. Transfer ground spices to a small food processor and add coriander, curry leaves, juice of 1 lemon, chilli, garlic, ginger, tamarind, turmeric, and salt. Process until a paste forms.
  2. Place chicken pieces in a non-reactive bowl. Add remaining juice of 1/2 lemon and turn to coat. Let stand for 5 minutes. Add paste and turn chicken to coat well. Set aside for 15 minutes to marinate.
  3. Line a large bamboo steamer with baking paper. Arrange chicken on a single layer on paper, cooking in 2 batches if necessary. Place basket over a wok or other pan of simmering water, Cover and steam until the chicken is cooked through and tender, about 12 – 15 minutes. Transfer chicken to a plate.
  4. In a large frying pan, heat oil and butter (or ghee) over a medium-high heat. Add chicken and cook, turning once, until golden brown on both sides, 1 – 2 minutes per side. Serve with rice, fresh coriander, mint sauce and chutney.

Coco’s Green Smoothie

Serves: 2

My sister in law Court (Coco) shared this awesome breakfast smoothie with us.

Perfect for our new year’s resolution!

Highly commend and can be made the night before ready to be blitzed with ice in the morning.

Ingredients

1 cucumber
1 stick celery
1 banana
Kale (or baby spinach)
Dollop of Greek yoghurt
Minced ginger*
Splash of cold water or almond milk

Method

  1. Blitz together all the ingredients in a blender and serve with ice.

* Pro tip. Cut up your ginger, peel and put in a ziplock bag in the freezer ready for this smoothie, or any meal. Ready to grate when you need it!