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Friday, August 31, 2012

Mediterranean Chicken Casserole

This is my fail-safe, when in doubt, easy to do, always delicious (you get the point) mid-week dinner: Mediterranean Chicken casserole. It takes about 10 minutes to put together and is a one-pot wonder. Perfect with couscous or mash, what more could you ask for?

Mediterranean Chicken Casserole

Ingredients: (serves 4)
  • 8 chicken thighs
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 packet/20 Calamata olives (stoned)
  • 2 red onions
  • 1 tin tomatoes
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 1 tbs sugar
  • 6 sprigs rosemary
  • salt and pepper
  • couscous/mashed potato to serve
  • Preheat oven to 190*C
  • Put a non-stick pan on med-high heat and fry the thighs, in batches, skin-side down for 3-4 minutes until nicely browned. Remove and pop into a casserole dish.
  • Thinly slice garlic, cut onions into 8ths and mix together with olives, tinned tomato, wine, sugar and rosemary and pour over chicken. Grind over a little of salt and pepper and cover with foil/lid.
  • Put in the oven for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake for a further 45 minutes.
  • Serve with couscous/ mash.
  • Easy peasy.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Chicken and leek pie

A simple pie to please all tastes. Chicken and leek pie is comfort food at it's best and with leeks in season it's completely affordable. It won't take you long to make and will put smiles on dials in a second. Plus...making your own pastry has never been this easy.
Chicken and leek pie

  • Big bunch of leeks (about 5 leeks)
  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 4 tbsp Sasko cake flour
  • 4 cups milk
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp pepper
  • 1 tbsp thyme
  • 1 roast chicken
For the pastry:
  • 250g margarine/butter (at room temp)
  • 1 packet Sasko Quick treats scone mix
  • 100ml cold water
  • To make the pastry simply mix together the scone mixture with the butter/margerine either in a food processor or using your finger tips.
  • Once you have a bread-crumb like consistency and no clumps of butter/marg you can add the cold water and mix together to form a dough.
  • Cover with clingfilm and put in the fridge to cool for 30 minutes.
  • Pre-heat the oven to 180*C.
  • Take all the meat off the chicken carcass, put it into a mixing bowl and tear into similar sized shreds.
  • Wash and slice the leeks.
  • Put 2 tsp butter in a pan on medium heat, add the leeks and saute them for about 10 minutes until soft, then add the remaining butter and the flour and stir for a further minute.
  • Now add the milk, salt, pepper and thyme and simmer until thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 4-5 minutes. Once thickened, pour the mixture over the chicken and mix well.
  • Spoon the filling into a pie dish.
  • Roll the pastry out to a thickness of about 7mm and to a size that is 2cm larger than the perimeter of the dish you are using.
  • Use leftover pastry to line the edge of the dish.
  • Carefully place the sheet of pastry on top and decorate with pastry leaves/writing/flowers, whatever you fancy really. Brush with some egg wash and put in the oven to bake for 25 minutes until golden brown.
  •  Serve with a simple salad or mixed veggies

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Tomato tarte tatin

Today in Joburg it hit 24*C, yes can you believe it, the end is nigh. It's heaven; sitting outside, glass of wine in hand, watching the sunset, celebrating the almost, ever-so-close, can-almost-smell-it end of winter.

In celebration I made one of my very favourite favourites: a tomato tarte tatin. It's the most wonderful combination of crisp pastry, sweet, juicy tomatoes, rich cheese and fresh herbs. It's a great first-impression maker as it's eye-rollingly devastating at a luncheon with the 'dearests' and the 'dahlings', the 'dahlings' will struggle terribly to say 'tarte tatin' and the 'dearests' will think you've spent far longer on it than you actually have. A Mother-in-law's-match-made-in-heaven.

Tomato tarte tatin with goat’s cheese and rocket

Ingredients: (serves 4 as a main/6-8 as a starter)

  • 1 packet readymade puff pastry
  • 400g cherry/rosa tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • Pinch Salt and pepper
  • 50g chevlin goat’s cheese/Danish feta
  • 1 small packet wild/normal rocket
  • 2 tbsp balsamic
  • 2 tbsp Olive oil

  • Preheat oven to 200*C.
  • Place either an oven-proof frying pan or a non-stick frying pan on med-high heat.
  • Put sugar and butter in the pan and stir until sugar is dissolved then pop in the tomatoes and cook for 2 minutes, tossing continuously to coat in the syrup. Remove from the stove and sprinkle oven salt and pepper. (If you aren’t using an oven-proof frying pan you will need to transfer the tomatoes and syrup to a greased 20-25cm round baking tin.)
  • Take the sheet of puff pastry and cut into a circle slightly larger than the pan/tin. Place the pastry over the pan/tin and tuck the edges around the outside of the tomatoes and prick the centre with a fork.
  • Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes until the pastry is lightly browned, carefully remove from the oven and place a large plate on top of the pan/tin, and, using oven gloves and some confidence, hold the plate and pan/tin tightly together and flip over. Remove the pan/tin to reveal a gorgeous, sumptuous tomato tarte tatin. Allow to cool for 10-15 minutes.
  • To serve: Mix the olive oil and balsamic in a small bowl and coat the wild rocket generously in this dressing, decorate the tarte with goat’s cheese/Danish feta and top with the rocket.