Monthly Archives: July 2012

Sweet Chilli & Basil Chicken Stir Fry

A dipping sauce or stir fry sauce? Let’s just say I have been using sweet chilli sauce interchangeably.

I am one of those people who enjoys a little sweetness in savoury food.  If you enjoyed my sweet chilli prawns, I have a feeling you may like this one too. :)

A sweet scented basil and sweet chilli sauce, balanced with a savoury kick of fish sauce and freshly ground black pepper. This may not be an authentic Thai dish, but you’ll get some elements which make Thai food so desirable: fresh and flavourful.

Sweet Chilli & Basil Chicken Stir Fry

(Feeds 2 to 3 people with rice)

What you’ll need:-

  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 500g skinless & boneless chicken thigh fillets, slice in strips
  • Freshly ground black pepper, grind about 10 rounds
  • 125g/4.4 ounces of mini sweet corns, halve lengthwise
  • 1 red capsicum (bell pepper), slice lenghtwise
  • 1/2 tbsp fish sauce *adjust to taste*
  • 1/3 cup sweet chilli sauce (I used Trident brand)
  • A handful of basil leaves
  • Cooking oil

(1) In a large stir fry pan over medium heat, saute garlic in flavourless cooking oil until aromatic. (2) Add chicken, freshly ground black pepper (about 10 rounds of grinding) and fish sauce. Cook over high heat until slightly brown – see Note 1. (3) Add sweet corns and toss for half a minute or so. (4) Then add red capsicum and toss gently to mix. (5) Add sweet chilli sauce and toss to combine with the chicken mixture. Check for taste. Add more fish sauce if required. (6) Lastly, turn off the heat and stir in basil leaves. Toss to mix and serve immediately with rice.

Note 1: I apply the general principle of cooking a steak when browning the chicken slices i.e. try not to toss them around too much and cook over fairly high heat. I only flipped the chicken slices when they became slightly charred on the pan side down. I find this way will ensure the chicken to brown nicely, retaining its moisture at the same time.

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Sparkling Orange Juice & Honey

Freshly squeezed orange juice is one of my favourite drinks ever since I was a kid. Occasssionally, I settle for supermarket orange juice. But depending on the brand you buy, some can be overly sweet and acidic. It’s not really how I like my orange juice, to be honest.

When the Orange Farmers’ Market welcomed truck loads of oranges, I jumped at the opportunity to buy them from the growers. This somehow makes me feel better as a consumer. Although they all came in different sizes, slightly freckled and matte (not glossy), I happily embraced their imperfection as I know if I were to grow them myself, they will look similar to these.

When these came home with me, I know immediately I wanted to make my own freshly squeezed orange juice and honey, just like how my mum used to make it for me. I even used an old fashion glass juicer, similar to the one owned by my mum.  The only twist I’ve made is to top the juice up with sparkling mineral water. A little touch which makes orange juice even more refreshing!

Sparkling Orange Juice & Honey

What you’ll need to fill a 220ml/7.4 fluid ounces glass:-

  • 1 orange (you can have more oranges if you wish)
  • 1 tsp honey *adjust to taste*
  • Sparkling mineral water to fill the glass

(1) Juice an orange and then transfer the juice into a glass. (2) Stir in honey until it dissolves in the juice. (3) Fill  the glass with sparkling mineral water. Serve immediately.

Note – It takes some time to dissolve the honey in the orange juice. You can add a tiny bit of hot water to help the honey to dissolve but I have read that high temperature will ruin some of the good properties in the honey.

 

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Smoked Pulled Chicken Chili

Hi guys! Hope you all have had a great weekend!

The past weekend was mostly about catching up with friends. However, I still managed to sneak in a trip of the farmers’ market which was pretty fun as always. :)

Anyway, I have been thinking about making pulled meat chili. As my social life had picked up its pace this weekend, my time for cooking had inadvertently being cut short. So instead of going through the long hours of cooking meat from scratch, I took a short cut. I got myself some store-bought smoked chicken! :P

Smoked Pulled Chicken Chili

Feeds 3 to 4 people

What you’ll need:-

  • 1 brown onion, diced
  • 2 to 3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp Mixed Italian Spices (Masterfoods brand)
  • 500g/17.6 ounces smoked chicken (about 4 large drumsticks)
  • 2 x 400g/14.1 ounces canned tomato (I used whole tomatoes)
  • 1 x 420g /14.8 ounces canned beans (I used four beans mix), rinsed & drained
  • Salt to taste
  • Sugar to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • A handful of finely grated cheese to serve
  • 500g/17.6 ounces of small pasta (I used gifted San Remo Artisan Pasta (Caserecce), courtesy of)
  • Recently boiled water to cook the pasta

(1) In a large pot over medium heat, saute onion, garlic and Mixed Italian Spices until the onion is translucent. (2) Add smoked chicken and canned tomatoes. Boil over medium heat until bubling. Then reduce the heat to low and let it simmer for 20 minutes, covered. (3) 20 minutes later, transfer the chicken on to a flat plate. Add canned beans and let the tomato mixture continue to simmer over the lowest possible heat, uncovered. In the meantime, use a fork and spoon (or hands) to debone the chicken and shred to smaller pieces.  Transfer the  pulled chicken back to the tomato sauce. (4) Stir to combine. Season with salt and sugar and to taste. Add freshly ground black pepper. Remove the pot of sauce off the heat. Set aside while you start cooking the pasta (5) Cook pasta according to the packet instructions. Drained. (6) To serve: Add cooked onto a bowl, ladle some smoked chicken chili over the pasta. Garnish with some finely shredded cheese. Add more freshly ground black pepper if you wish. Serve immediately.

Note – The reason I used drumsticks is because they can withstand simmering time without drying out the meat too much. If you are not a fan of dark meat, you can mix drumsticks with breast meat if you like. Add drumsticks and breast meat to flavour the tomato sauce. But you have to remove the breast meat after 10 minutes before it becomes too stringy.

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Peanut Butter & Oatmeal Spelt Cookies

uhmmmm…. homemade cookies…

They are the best, aren’t they? They make the whole house smells amazing. Who needs a bakegoods scented candle when you can have the real thing?

I was eager to bake something with the spelt flour which I’ve bought a while ago. I’ve been told it has a nuttier tinge to it. Then I came across a peanut butter cookie recipe. It was like a sign. A nutty sign haha!

Peanut Butter & Oatmeal Spelt Cookies

(tweaked slightly from the recipe found in the July 2012 Recipes + magazine)

Makes about 20 cookies

What you’ll need:-

  • 100g butter, diced
  • 1/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1/3 cup smooth peanut butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
  • 1 + 1/3 cup spelt flour (original recipe calls for rice flour)
  • 1 cup rolled oats (original recipe calls for quinoa flakes)
  • 1 tsp baking powder

(1) Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius (356 degrees Fahrenheit) /160 degrees Celsius (320 degree Fahrenheit) fan forced. Line 2 baking trays with baking papers. (2) Melt butter, brown sugar, honey, peanut butter and vanilla in a saucepan over low heat – see Note 1. Stir until melted and combined. Cool slightly. (3) In a separate large mixing bowl, combine flour, oatmeal and baking powder.  Stir in the cooled peanut butter mixture to form a dough. (4) Roll heaped tablespoons of dough into 20 balls and place on prepared tray about 3cm apart, flatten slightly – see Note 2. Chill for 15 minutes. (5) Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown. Cool completely on trays (cookies will firm up).

Note 1 – When measuring the honey, lightly oil the measuring vessel with flavourless oil. This will ensure the honey will slide off easily and more accurate measurement – a tip provided in the Recipes + magazine.

Note 2 – If you have a small fridge and couldn’t fit 2 baking trays like me, what I have done was to chill the whole dough in the mixing bowl, without rolling into balls, overnight. The dough actually became really hard…so you have to wait for it to be soften enough to roll into balls (since it is winter here, it took me 1 hour + to soften).

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