Thai Chicken Flatbread Pizza

Here’s a variation of pizza that is great for the grown-ups on a Friday night, featuring peanut sauce, broccoli, and sweet mango.

I know, what a combination!

You will have to trust me with this one – it really is good 🙂

Flatbreads are a regular on the shopping list at my place; you can use them so many ways, from wraps with pulled pork and slaw, to bases for bacon and egg pies! Super nice for a lunch sandwich instead of a bread which gets boring quickly – specially for the kids!

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This is as authentic a peanut sauce as you can make, as it starts with real peanuts not peanut butter! It is super easy, and quick to make.

You can use this for a dip for vegetables, or as a sauce for chicken or beef satay. Or use it as a marinade for grilled chicken or tofu.

For the Peanut Sauce:

  • 1 cup fresh dry-roasted peanuts, unsalted
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 2 c loves garlic, crushed
  • 1/2 teaspoon dark soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 1-2 tablespoons brown sugar, to taste
  • 2-2 1/2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon tamarind paste, or 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or 1 teaspoon chilli sauce
  • 1/3 cup coconut milk

Place all of the ingredients into  blender or food processor, and blend until sauce is smooth. If you prefer a runnier peanut sauce, add a little more water or coconut milk.

Do a taste-test, adding more fish sauce if not salty enough, or  more cayenne if not spicy enough for you. If too salty, add a squeeze of fresh lime juice. If you would prefer it sweeter, add a little more sugar.

**this sauce tends to thicken as it sits – just a little water or coconut milk to thin it out, as needed. It stores well, in the fridge for up to 2 weeks; pop it in the freezer after this time period.

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Pizza Ingredients:

  • 2 flatbreads, or pitas
  • 200-250 grams chicken breasts
  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 150gram mozzarella cheese, grated
  • 1/2 cup small broccoli florets, chopped
  • 1 small red onion, sliced thinly
  • 1 mango, chopped – if it is out of season, a can of mango will do the trick too 🙂
  • peanuts, chopped to serve
  • 2 tablespoons parsley, chopped to serve

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

Heat oil in a small pan, and add chicken and 2 tablespoons of peanut sauce, salt and pepper to sauté until the chicken is cooked through. Set aside and allow to cool.

Spread two tablespoons of the peanut sauce on each flatbread or pita, then top with half of the chicken, cheese and broccoli and red onions.

Bake pizza for 8-9 minutes or until the cheese is melted and golden

Top with chopped mango, peanuts and parsley.

Serve with extra peanut sauce so you can dip the crust!

Happy Friday Pizza Nights xx

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Mac ‘N Cheese

Mac ‘N Cheese

If you mention you had Mac ‘n’ cheese for dinner amongst my work colleagues there would be gasps of horror! “oh my goodness, so much cheese”,” so many carbs”….”I just could not indulge like that”.  Any of those comments sound familiar?

So if you want to avoid those types of comments, just don’t mention it, or call it something else!

It was my birthday last month, and as we were not able to eat out, I figured I could treat myself to this family favourite – and somewhat classic dish!

Ingredients:

  • 250grams macaroni
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 500ml milk
  • 3 cups Tasty or Colby cheese, grated
  • 4 slices streaky bacon, chopped roughly
  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 cup Panko breadcrumbs, Japanese breadcrumbs

Bring a large pot to the boil with a dash of salt, and add dry pasta. Cook until al dente – or cooked ‘firm to the bite’. Drain and add a little olive oil to the cooked pasta to ensure it does not stick to each other.

Melt the butter in a large saucepan over a medium heat then add the flour and cook for three minutes. Add the milk, stirring constantly until thick and smooth – I use a whisk for this. Add two cups of grated cheese, and your seasoning. Remove from the heat, and set to the side.

Add a little cooking oil and over a medium heat sautĂ© the bacon and onions for 10 minutes or until they’re starting to colour. Add the cherry tomatoes and cook for two more minutes.

At this stage, I combine the bacon and onion mix with the cheese sauce in the pot with the cooked pasta. Mix it well.

Transfer to an oven-proof dish. Top with remaining cheese and breadcrumbs and bake for 15 minutes – or until the cheese and breadcrumbs are golden.

Serves 4

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You can whip up a big dish of Mac ‘N Cheese very economically, which is also a great benefit for those of you with a tribe of teenagers to feed. A packet of dry pasta is less than $2, and this will go a long distance. Leave out the bacon, and add extra vegetables – you can chop up a broccoli, or grate a carrot and zucchini into this, and get away with it!

Don’t wait for a special occasion to treat yourself and the family to a delicious Mac ‘N Cheese dinner; add it to a family menu for a quick and easy week night meal the teenagers will devour in a flash. One word of warning however; make plenty as they will be back for seconds!

Happy teen – happy mum xx

Ratatouille

Ratatouille is a fancy (and hard name to say) French provincial stewed vegetable dish, originating in Nice.

This vegetable stew is tasty and substantial, and carefully  seasoned just before it finishes cooking brings out the flavours.

Ingredients for 8 servings:

  • 2 large onions, sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, sliced or crushed
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2-3 cups sliced zucchini
  • 1-2 green peppers, seeded and diced
  • 2-3 cups diced eggplant
  • 1/4 cup light Olive oil
  • 3 cups chopped and peeled tomatoes, substitute canned for fresh in the winter
  • 1 teaspoon fresh or dried basil or oregano
  • salt, pepper and sugar
  • chopped parsley

Take a large frying pan and fry the onions and garlic in oil until just coloured very slightly.

Add the zucchini and peppers. Cook over a moderate heat, turning the vegetables,  from time to time, for about 5-10 minutes.

Remove vegetables from the pan and brown the eggplant in the second measure of oil. Add the partly cooked vegetables, along with the tomatoes.

Cover pan with a lid, after adding basil or oregano. Cook over a low heat for about 30 minutes, then season with salt, pepper and sugar to taste.

**I add a dash of black sauce for a little bit of heat

**If serving hot, thicken with a little cornflour paste

**Quantities of vegetables may vary, and zucchini, peppers or eggplant can be left out (not all of them though :))

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Now I love Ratatouille as a side dish with grilled or poached chicken…last nights supper below.

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And it makes a super delicious breakfast with a poached egg – that’s my breakfast sorted for tomorrow!

Super tasty with a grilled sausage, poached fish, or room temperature as a salad. Give it a try especially now when eggplants are so inexpensive – $.99 cents at my local green grocer this weekend.

If you enjoyed this eggplant dish try Eggplant Parmesan – another favourite!

Happy healthy cooking xx

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Prosciutto wrapped Prawns with Fresh Salad and a Pimento Mayo

Prosciutto wrapped Prawns with Fresh Salad and a Pimento Mayo

This delicious lunch or entreé consists of 3 parts: the prawns, the salad and the dressing.

Let’s start with the prawns:

Ingredients for 4 servings

  • 16  large prawn cutlets (4 per person)
  • 7 rashers of prosciutto, each slice cut into thirds or once lengthways

Wrap the prawns with the strips of prosciutto. Add a little splash of olive oil to a pan and sear allowing the prosciutto to caramelise before turning. This step takes literally minutes!

Okay let’s make the salad:

Ingredients for 4 servings

  • 1 carrot
  • 1 beetroot
  • 1/4 Daikon radish
  • 1 spring onion

Julienne the carrot, beetroot and Daikon; now I have a great little kitchen gadget for this job but if you don’t have one of these, it’s not to difficult to julienne with a sharp knife.

Julienne, or french cut, is when you finely slice your vegetables. Peel the vegetable, if necessary, and cut it crosswise into strips.

Rinse your beetroot in cold water to allow the colour to wash out before adding to the mix; place all the vegetables into a bowl of cold water. Add a couple of ice blocks from the freezer.

Right, now the dressing:

Ingredients for 8 servings – (why so much? because this is super yummy and it keeps in the refrigerator for another meal)

  • 2 whole roasted red peppers, seeds removed and pureed (or very finely chopped)
  • 1-2 teaspoon Spanish smoky paprika
  • 2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoon sherry vinegar
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 200 ml Sunflower oil ( or a light vegetable oil)
  • Salt & pepper

Add all of the ingredients except the oil. Whisk ingredients together, and then drizzle the oil into the bowl very slowly. When thickened, season with salt and pepper to taste.

Okay let’s assemble the dish:

Drain the vegetables first off.

Take a small handful of the salad and make a mound in the middle of the plate with it; add the prawns to the plate and drizzle the Pimento dressing around the plate. I’ve decorated the plate with a little avocado oil, and micro leaves.

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And there you have a quick and tasty entreĂ© or light lunch. I always put flavour at the top of my list when I am preparing a dish, and then ensure that the plate looks gorgeous. We eat with our eyes after all; what’s that old saying? ‘eyes bigger than your stomach’. You won’t have to worry about that with this dish!

If you feel like a seafood menu, try making this dish as the entreĂ© and then follow with my fresh fish with chargrilled eggplant and zucchini recipe. Treat yourself to a desert after all this health – perhaps a nice piece of Pinot Noir Chocolate Cake – yes really!

Happy eating xx

 

Fresh Fish with Chargrilled Eggplant & Zucchini and a Red Pepper Dressing

Fresh Fish with Chargrilled Eggplant & Zucchini and a Red Pepper Dressing

I’m not really a big fish eater which means I don’t spend much time thinking about cooking it either, much to my husband’s disappointment.

We have a local Fish & Chip store which makes great fresh snapper and chips; not greasy, not too much, just right. Perhaps once a fortnight we might have this as a Friday night escape from cooking for me? and I count this as my ‘fish night’.

So when my company ‘team building offsite’ was announced and the rumours starting flying about at work that it was at the local Seafood cooking school; I would be fibbing if I did not say I had to fake my enthusiasm 🙂

We had walked through the Seafood Market which houses the cooking school some months earlier and the smell of thousands of fish did nothing for me! I had never had a hankering to spend the day in a seafood cooking school!

With some trepidation of what was to come I joined my work colleagues on the bus and headed to the event; I guess it was a day out of the office at the very least -right?

It turns out I had nothing too much to be concerned about as we filed into a classroom and took our seats. The chef took his place at the cooking benchin front of us, with large mirros behind him so we could all see the cooking bench and his very quick  movements as his knife flew across the vegetables with deft skills.

Wwe were to make a quick and easy entrĂ©e and main fish dish apparently and would do this in groups later on.  He spent the session interacting with us all with such enthusiasm and passion for the subject matter, sharing funny stories and cooking techniques, I nearly forgot we were about to handle prawns and fresh fish!

Anyway the main fish meal was so quick and easy to put together, and delicious! I wanted to share it with you as a weekday option for a family dinner. I’ll add the entrĂ©e  later on today.

Ingredients: Serves 4

  • 4 x 160gram portions of fresh fish – fillets
  • 10 black, fitted Kalamata olives
  • 10 green olives, whole
  • 1 large eggplant, thinly sliced lengthways
  • 1 large zucchini, thinly sliced lengthways
  • 2 lemons, zest and juice
  • 1 red capsicum, thinly diced
  • 60ml lemon infused olive oil ( plain olive oil will work if you don’t have the infused kind)
  • 40ml white wine vinegar
  • 90grams feta cheese
  • Parsley for garnish
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Fresh bread to serve

Firstly prepare the fish by cutting into similar sized medallions, and then set aside in a dish with a splash of olive oil. Season with salt & pepper.

Put the Kalamata and green olives in a sautĂ© pan or oven-proof dish. Splash with a little olive oil and sear them quickly before putting into s hot oven to roast.

Coat the thinly sliced eggplant and zucchini with a little olive oil, and season with salt & pepper. Chargrill on a medium hot grill and until branded, and coloured!

Whilst the vegetables are grilling, add a splash of olive oil to a pan on a medium heat; then add the fish medallions.

Red Pepper Dressing

Take the red pepper previously prepared, lemon infused olive oil, white wine vinegar, lemon zest and juice and mix well. Season with salt & pepper. So easy!

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Layer the plate with the chargrilled eggplant and zucchini and fresh fish; crumble the feta cheese over. Drizzle with the red pepper dressing and garnish with the roasted olives and a sprinkling a chopped parsley. Squeeze some lemon juice over the dish and serve with fresh crusty bread!

A little note for people like me who don’t cook fish often enough to be an expert: Here’s how to tell if fish is done: use a fork and prick into the thickest portion of the fish at a 45-degree angle. The gently twist the fork and  pull up some of the fish. Undercooked fish resists flaking and is translucent.

You can rustle up this fish dinner in less than 25 minutes which is perfect for a weekday meal. Its healthy, and tasty so ticks plenty of boxes. Do give it a go and let me know how the family enjoyed it.

Happy fishing xx