Chicken Scallopini

This is one of my husband’s favourite dishes, and I have tinkered with a basic recipe until I found one that we all liked.  It doesn’t take much time to cook, and is quite low fuss.  I only put a little lemon in it or it becomes too sour – there is just enough for you to realise it has some.

 

Chicken Scallopini – serves 4.

Chicken Scallopini

Chicken Scallopini

Two large chicken breasts, cut each across so that you get four thin pieces of meat – this reduces the cooking time (or you can use four small breasts and pound them until they are thin);

1 tbsp gluten free flour;

1 tbsp each butter and oil;

1/3 cup white wine (your favourite flavour);

1/3 cup chicken stock;

3 drops lemon juice;

1/4 tsp dried thyme;

1/4 cup thickened cream.

 

Roll the chicken in the flour so they are well coated all over.  Melt the butter gently in the oil in a frypan that fit all four chicken breasts.  The reason you use butter AND oil, is the butter gives the flour coating a great flavour, and the oil stops the butter from burning.  Cook the chicken until it is just cooked through, then put in a covered container that will keep them warm.  Put the wine and stock in the pan, and boil until reduced by half.  Add the lemon juice and thyme, then turn down the mixture to low and let it come off the boil.  Add the cream, don’t let it boil or it will separate, just let it warm through, then pour over the chicken and serve.

 

This is great served with White wine and buttered microwave rice, as the butter and wine flavours in both dishes complement each other.

White wine and buttered microwave rice

This is one of the easiest things I can think of to be made as an accompaniment, usually to a meat dish.  I use this often, particularly if I am making a main that needs a bit of attention, as this is so easy I can set it up and then leave it to look after itself.  Of course if you use gluten free stock powder, it is gluten free.  If you use a vegetarian stock powder, it will even be a vegetarian side dish.

I prefer to use basmati rice for microwave cooking.  Use a good brand, as the “no-name” ones can go gluggy.  I like basmati not only because I always get a good result, but a dietician once told me that basmati has a low GI so is better for you than some other white rice varieties.  So it is better for diabetics or people watching their weight than say, Jasmine rice.

White wine and buttered microwave rice – serves four as an accompaniment.

White wine and buttered microwave rice

White wine and buttered microwave rice

I cup of rice;

1/2 cup white wine (your choice, whatever flavour you like);

1 tbsp stock powder;

2 1/2 cups hot water;

1/2 cup frozen peas (or corn kernels, just something small);

1 tbs butter.

 

Put all ingredients except the butter in a microwave safe dish and cover.  The cooking time will depend on your microwave.  I usually cook on high for about seven minutes, then check it and stir it (there should be plenty of water left at this stage).  Then give it about five more minutes on high, as I said it will depend on your microwave.  Once it is done, stir through the butter and let it melt.  Leave covered for a few minutes to stand.

 

You can also add a small amount of herbs of your choice.  I don’t add any extra salt as there should be plenty in the stock powder.  You can of course use stock instead of the water and stock powder if you have some on hand.

 

Slow cooker (crock cooker) chicken and cashews

This is a yummy, easy version that serves four greedy people (like me) or up to six if you behave yourselves!

Slow cooker (Crock cooker) chicken and cashews

Slow cooker (Crock cooker) chicken and cashews

 

1kg chicken thighs, cut into 2cm cubes;

1/4 cup gluten free flour;

1/2 tsp black pepper;

1 tbsp oil;

1/4 cup gluten free soy sauce;

2 tbsp rice wine vinegar;

2 tbsp tomato sauce;

1 tbsp brown sugar;

1 garlic clove, chopped finely;

2cm piece ginger, chopped finely;

1/4 tsp chilli flakes or powder;

Small amount of water (you want the chicken to be just covered in the crock);

1 cup approximately frozen sliced green beans (or veg of your choice);

1 cup cashews (more or less, depending on your preference);

1/4 cup sesame seeds.

Place chicken in a bag with the flour and black pepper.  Put the soy, vinegar, tomato sauce, brown sugar, garlic, ginger and chilli in the crock and stir to mix.  Brown the chicken in batches and place in the crock.  Add the frozen veg.  Cook for 3 hours (more if you haven’t cut up the chicken finely but prefer it chunkier).  Stir through the cashews and sesame seeds, put the lid back on and leave for about 5-10 minutes more to let the cashews heat and soften a little.  Of course if you like your cashews softer you can put them in earlier in the process, experiment with times as slow cookers do vary, don’t put them in for too long, as you want them to retain some texture.

 

Serve with rice to soak up the sauce, this is not a very saucy dish, but should have just enough to cover the chicken.  If you like it very saucy, you can double the sauce ingredients instead of using the additional water to cover the ingredients.

Microwave chocolate and pistachio fudge

I think this is the easiest fudge recipe possible.  It only has four ingredients, if you leave out the pistachios and make a plain fudge, it’s only three.  I like this with dark chocolate, but you could just as easily make it with milk chocolate if that’s your preference.

Two main points to consider – you don’t completely melt the chocolate in the microwave, it will only partially melt (don’t worry if you take it out and it hasn’t melted – it’s better to do it this way rather than let it burn or sieze by overcooking it), and you MUST line your lamington tin with plastic wrap, or you are going to have a sticky, gooey mess you can’t do anything with.

 

Microwave chocolate and pistachio fudge

 

Dark chocolate and pistachio fudge (gluten free)

Dark chocolate and pistachio fudge (gluten free)

395g can of condensed milk;

375g dark chocolate, either choc bits or chopped;

50g butter;

2/3 cups chopped pistachios (more or less as per your preference).

 

Put all ingredients in a microwave safe bowl (I put the chocolate in the bottom, then the butter, then the condensed milk).  Cook on high for 2 1/2 to 3 minutes, depending on your microwave wattage.  When you take it out the chocolate should be starting to melt, but not melted.  Mix with a spoon or silicon spatula until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth.  Stir in the chopped nuts, then pour into a lamington tin which has been lined with glad wrap.   Place in fridge to set.

 

When set (I leave it for a couple of hours, but check it after an hour) upturn onto a cutting board (I normally place the  board on the top of the lamington tin, then – holding the tin securely at each end, “flip” it over, put it on the bench then take the tin off the upturned mixture), then slowly peel the glad wrap from the slab of fudge.  Cut into small slices (I usually cut on an angle, but you can do this however you prefer) then cut the slices into pieces.  It is rich and sweet so you will want smaller pieces rather than larger.

 

Obviously this recipe can easily be altered for your personal tastes.  You can substitute the nuts for some other type (try walnut, almond or macadamia) or you can even experiment with dried fruit such as raisins.  Just be careful not to add extra moisture as this fudge is gooey to start with.

Walnut and maple syrup cake

Ok, I have been getting some comments that I have not posted for a while.  I know, I know, I have been very Lazy (surprised?) – I have actually been cooking, but haven’t “got around” to posting my efforts.  Plus I just went on a fun holiday to the USA and Bermuda, so obviously I was not cooking at all (I think once I put some frozen pizza in the oven, that was it!) but was instead doing lots of eating out.  I got some great ideas, which I have to do some tinkering with to make them more my style (read: easier) but those ideas will be works in progress.  In the meantime, I have returned to wintry weather, so my mind turns to casseroles, curries and puddings.

 

This cake can be eaten hot from the oven with some cream as a pudding, or allowed to go cold and sliced as a butter cake.   I got the inspiration for this cake/pudding simply by standing in my pantry (or hobbit hole as my cheeky children call it) looking at the various bottles, jars, containers, tins and packets that I obsessively fill the shelves with, wondering what flavour combinations would taste good.  Thankfully I made the right choices (I am sure that walnut and maple syrup have been thought of by someone else before, but it was a first for me).  It’s quite easy to whip up and easier to eat.  Unfortunately, NONE of it was leftover to go cold and be eaten as a cake, it was a cold winter’s night and the family kept going back for seconds, so it all went as pudding.

 

Walnut and maple syrup cake

Walnut and Maple Syrup Cake

Walnut and Maple Syrup Cake

1 cup walnuts, chopped randomly (some left as larger chunks, some chopped a bit finer);

Maple syrup (I started with a tablespoon, but tasted the batter before I put it in the cake tin, and added a little more – put in the amount that tastes right to you, remember that some of the taste will dissipate while the cake is cooking);

125 grams butter;

1/2 cup caster sugar;

2 eggs, beaten;

1 1/2 cups sr flour (I used gluten free which does cause the cake to ‘crack’ more than regular flour, but it was still ok and now suitable for the coeliac in my house);

Up to 1/4 cup milk (put in a little at a time, you want the batter to be smooth and pourable, but not runny).

Cream the butter and sugar, gradually add the beaten eggs, mixing all the time.  Add walnuts and mix.  Add flour and maple syrup alternately, then add milk as required.

Pour into a cake tin, and bake in a 170 C fan forced oven (or 180 regular) for about 35-40 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean.  Let it cool in the tin for a few minutes before putting on a rack to cool (or cutting up and eating as pudding!)