Tag Archives: chicken stew

What’s on the menu?

Are you like me, constantly planning what’s for dinner for the week ahead?. Some of my friends think I am MAD!. I love it!, searching for recipes, ideas, inspirations for wonderful meals. I usually start with a depleted fridge and cupboard, I then start to mentally collate lists and  ideas for meals, recipes which I have been sourcing  from online food websites, cook books, magazines which go on to become written menu ideas. Farmers Markets provide a huge influence when it comes to what is in season. Earthquakes and the imminent winter weather is motivating me to fill the store cupboards.

This week is shaping up to be a very delicious looking Autumn, end of April Menu.

  • Thursday Evening – Cinnamon Beef Stew with creamy mash, french green beans & shallots.
  • Friday Night THE ROYAL WEDDING – Fillet Steak Gratin with creme fraiche, chive sauce & rocket.
  • Desert Rhubarb crumble served with custard
  • Saturday Night – Pork with caramelised pear and parsnips
  • Sunday Night – Handmade by moi, Agria Potato Gnocchi with cherry tomato, basil sauce and parmesan
  • Monday Night – Home made Chicken Soup, stock and all.

Thats as far as I have planned right now. I like to keep my ingredients as fresh as possible and I find if I plan to far ahead I end up with some forgotten, limp vegetables at the back of the fridge that do not get used. I can’t wait to get cooking. Who would like to come to dinner?

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Living through the Christchurch Earthquake

My favourite Local Metro cafe, Ferrymead re-opened today, this is a milestone let me tell you. The last time I had coffee and a pumpkin chocolate muffin there was 10:43am the morning of February 22nd, 2011 (a bit like the last supper, for I ate nothing else that day) . The 6.3 Christchurch Earthquake rocked my city at 12:51pm.The  epicentre was only minutes away from this location. ALL the businesses, cafes, supermarkets, have been closed in this area. The nearest supermarket has been a 30 minute drive. For this trip you must be a skilled driver to negotiate the lumps, bumps, detours, roadworks, potholes and general road damage. I was so excited to go and have a coffee there. This felt a little like normality.

I lost all my food in my fridge/freezer as the power was off for weeks. Fish sauce!!! smashed onto my kitchen floor and the smell has only been removed with some very thorough cleaning.

The force of the earthquake was so strong it picked my island bench and huge oven and shifted it across my kitchen. I was in shock when I saw this mess…where do you start? with no power or water to clean the glass and mess and an active toddler who is on the move. We moved out. I have felt like a refugee. We are one of the lucky ones up on our hill as our house appears to have no structural damage unlike about 80% of my neighbours homes. We still have our fair share of cracks. Two days after the earthquake we were staying at my brother in laws house. I felt very grateful as I watched the news reports…over 200 missing presumed dead or missing. I felt the desire to make a  Chocolate cake!. Unfortunately I do not have a photo of it.

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Roasted Vegetable Goodness

I always am amazed how delicious and easy roasting food can be. I think I go through stages of labouring over my hot stove thinking I am being so clever, pan sauteing , braising, poaching, frying, however I am probably just making a lot of work for myself even if the result is sumptuous. I then stumble across some ingredients or a recipe which makes me throw all my chopped, prepped ingredients in a roasting tin, pop them in the hot oven and ahhhh relax until my trusty beeper tells me it is all ready to be simply served & enjoyed. 

The ingredients that caught my eye this week were a a couple of perfect  lean pork fillets from the Redcliffs Butchery (he knows his pork he is the guy on the pork advertisement on TV!),  winter pumpkin – this is the best $1-3 you can spend this winter, red onions, new season carrots, whole garlic cloves, braeburn apples all from my Local Lyttleton Farmers market. 

The inspiration came from my 2008 Issue 19 Aug-sep DISH magazine. 

Pork Fillet and Roasted Vegetable Salad with Honey Baked apples….oh this is as good as it sounds actually it was better than my expectations. 

Pork Fillet and Roasted Vegetable Salad with Honey Baked Apples

Prepped winter vegetables ready for the oven

 

Ingredients 

600 grams free-range pork fillets, 

2 table spoons olive oil 

2 cloves of garlic crushed 

2 teaspoons finely chopped rosemary 

finely grated zest of 1 lemon organic/unwaxed 

sea salt and ground black pepper 

Salad – 1  pumpkin butternut or buttercup or I used a small gem squash I think it is called(Dish recommended parsnips), 2 red onions, peeled and quartered through the root, I also used some red pepper cut into thick strips, 3 carrots, peeled and cut on the diagonal, 8 whole cloves of garlic, skin on as they will pop out like juicy morsels once roasted, 2 handfuls of baby spinach. 

Home made apple sauce

 

Apple sauce – 4 braeburn apples, skin on, cut into wedges, knob of butter, juice of 1 lemon, 3 tablespoons honey, 1/2 teaspoon sea salt, 1 teaspoon of chopped thyme. 

Dressing – 2 tablespoons lemon juice, 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, 1 clove of garlic, 1 teaspoon whole grain mustard, 2 tablespoons finely chopped chives, sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. 

Preheat your oven to 200c 

Pork: Trim the pork of any silverskin and tie with kitchen string, tucking the thin end under for even cooking. Combine the olive oil, garlic, rosemary and lemon zest in a bowl and season. Rub over the Pork and set aside until ready to cook. 

Pork fillet trimmed and tucked ready for cooking

 

 Apple Sauce: melt the butter in a ovenproof saute pan (I love my www.lecreuset.co.uk) , add the apples and lemon juice until they just begin to colour. Stir in the honey, salt & thyme. Roast in the oven for 15-20 minutes or until just tender and caramelised. 

Salad: Combine the Pumpkin, red pepper, red onions, parsnips, yams  or whatever veggies you have chosen in a large roasting dish. Toss with a little olive oil and season. Roast for 40 minutes or until tender, turning occasionally. Leave until just warm. 

Dressing: Whisk the ingredients in a bowl and season. Add the spinach to the roasted veggies and toss with the dressing. 

To finish: Heat a little olive oil in a saute pan and brown the pork on all sides. Roast for 12 minutes or until just cooked. 

To serve: Slice the pork on the diagonal and toss with the roasted vegetables. Serve with the apples. Serves 4-6 

Please leave a comment if you like the look of this and please let me know if you try this recipe and how you find it. Thanks for visiting, Bonnie

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Winter comfort food

Bean Burgers with home made tomato relish

Dish magazine banana butterscotch & date self saucing pudding

Oven Baked fish & tomatoes with a simple green salad and balsamic vinegar dressing.

It feels like we have been dumped into the deep end of winter with little warning, or maybe I got so wrapped up with our glorious autumn weather I did not consider that winter was closing in soon. 

I have started a new career with has been engrossing much of my energy and time. However cooking is still my creative, relaxing outlet. I also love to receive the accolades from my dining partners, I have some  peacock characteristics, like to be in the limelight, centre of attention. What better way than to please your diners.  Those diners consists of baby, hubby, and as of late usually a self invited extended family dinner guest. The fame of my blog means that my home dining room is taking more dinner bookings than Johnny Swass’s Ferry Rd restaurant!. 

This is a small hall of fame photo gallery of some of the meals Josh, Jess & Jem have been enjoying. I have been cooking some sensational recipes from the latest DISH magazine. Please go and get a copy now if you still have not. Please let me know if you would like a particular recipe or leave a comment and let me know what meal you would like to eat when you to to “Restaurant Bonnie Pleasant” 

Stay warm x 

p.s maybe I need to make some mulled wine this weekend. 

Dish magazine Carrot & parsnip soup

 

North African Lamb & Apricot tagine

 

Lazy saturday night asian fusion lamb noodle salad

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Rainy Day Watercress Simple Sandwich

Its raining it’s pouring the old man is snoring…I have been stuck in side with a 14 month old baby for too many days. Southerly winds and driving rain is running down my window panes. I was planning to make a twice baked watercress souffle from Sophie Grigsons cook book – The definitive guide to delicious cooking & eating vegetables. I got my Little river grown fresh watercress from the fridge ready and waiting while I started to prepare my ingredients.One major problem I only had one egg left!.   So I flagged that idea and with the inspiration from Sophie Grigson describing her “british childhood suppers of first class white bread with salty butter and packed full of watercress” decided I would make a simple watercress sandwich. 

As it is cold and rainy I couldn’t have a cold sandwich, so I fried my solitary egg, toasted my honey vienna bread and added a big pile of watercress, halved cherry tomatoes and added a drizzle of balsamic vinegar, olive oil and pinch of sea salt.  It was actually delicious, ok I know this is not cooking…more assembly, however I do recommend.  

Watercress & Egg SandwhichWarm buttercup pumpkin, bacon & tomato autumn salad

  

Rocket has now been bumped from no 1 spot for my winter salad green and watercress is now the winner!.  Here are some simple facts you may not of known about watercress:

Taste & texture: Peppery taste, crisp stem & soft leaves. It puts up well with being used in a warm salad or as a cushion for other ingredients.

Nutritional benefits: Watercress is part of the cabbage family with anti cancer properties and can boast it has more iron than spinach. It is a very good source of vitamins A, B1, B2, B6, C, D & E, (basically the whole alphabet) fiber, folic acid, iodine, iron, copper, and calcium . They also provide an excellent source of manganese, sulfur, protein, and carotene.  It stimulates the appetite and boosts your energy!.
 
From this list I am sure you are sold on watercress now also!. I use to live in Oxford, North Canterbury and remember seeing it growing wild on the bank of the stream. It really is a beautiful green!. Keep your eye out for it at the farmers market.
 
The Home Cookie x

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Busy Mothers Day Dinner!

I have to confess I have been feeling very lazy the last week and have been exploring recipes using my slow cooker. I live in Christchurch and this week there has been a slight nip in the air, hence the stew. There a quite a few advantages for using a slow cooker. I can cut, chop and assemble the meal in the morning turn the button on low and  then do absolutely nothing to it (maybe a quick stir) let it do its thing for 8-9 hours. With a one year old it is fantastic I can sneak a bit of the meal at 5.30pm to feed to Lucia and then finish getting her ready for bed and then we have ours at 7pm. The smell when you arrive home is fabulous, slow cooked meat & veges cooked in red wine & fresh herbs, It is like having your absentee Grandma cook you a hot senior citizen casserole.  

My slow cooker on my kitchen bench

 

My husband went through a stage where every time I sent him to the supermarket to buy a few things sugar, milk etc he would come home with random impulse purchases. I am talking about household goods and appliances on sale at Woolworth’s supermarket!. They all had the same things in common, they were fairly cheap imports from China which were badly made. Firstly he came home with a microwave.  Shortly after owning it the light stopped working and the tray stopped spinning at that point I thought it was a health hazard and retired it to the shed in the garden .It has put me off microwaves forever. Next he came home with an electric guitar!, this I made him promptly return. Next time he came home with  the slow cooker and it only cost him about $40 yet I have had so much use from it over the last 4 years!.  So my point is these are not expensive and probably a worthwhile kitchen appliance to own, especially for lazy or “smart” cooks.
Recently I got up at 3am in the morning to put on some porridge for us, the cinnamon made it really sweet tasting without the need to add too much sugar. This is the most tasty, nutritious porridge ever. I found the recipe in a Annabel White recipe book for Healthy Eating. If you’re wondering why you would go to all this effort. well firstly it takes about 3 minutes to prep. Then when you wake up on that cold autumn morning and enter your kitchen to the smell of cinnamon and all you need to do it fill your bowl and add dollops of creamy yoghurt. You need to make sure it is the best yogurt in New Zealand  http://www.piakoyoghurt.co.nz/ You can buy this yogurt from Petrinis in Ferrymead or New World in Redcliffs. You could put your slow cooker on a timer to switch on. It takes about 3-4 hours on high. I believe every slow cooker is slightly different you will get a feel for how hot yours is the more you cook in it.
Slow cooker Cinnamon & fruit Porridge
1 Cup of rolled Oats
2 Cups Milk
1/4 cup dried fruit eg:sultanas, apricots
1 Teaspoon or cinnamon
1/4 Tsp salt
 
This week I have been really been enjoying Chicken or Turkey Stew. This is the recipe I have been using quite successfully. This meal is a bit like an old-fashioned classic kiwi dinner…. Meat and 3 vege!. I like serving it over steamed rice but you could have it over couscous or just on its own with some crusty buttered bread to mop up the juices.
 CHICKEN STEW SLOW COOKER RECIPE
3-4 Potatoes peeled and cut into chunks
1-2 Kumara peeled and cut into chunks
3 carrots peeled and cut into chunks
850gm-1kg Chicken, Turkey Thighs (free range is the best, email me if you are unsure where to buy and I will advise)
Lamb and Pork work well too
1 onion peeled and finely chopped (for really “smart cooks” you can chop this finely in your food processor)
2-3 fresh cloves of garlic finely chopped or minced
2-3 tbsp fresh herbs rosemary,parsley or thyme
 (if you don’t have herbs growing in your garden, get some from the roadside)
salt and pepper to taste
410 g tin of Campbell’s condensed  cream of chicken soup
A slurp of red wine
1:Place first three ingredients in slow cooker first, then add onion and garlic.
2:place meat on top and the remaining ingredients.

Chicken Stew

 

How easy is this! I hope you give it a try to let me know what you think.

And Chicken Stew another night with steamed spinach

 

Ok I admit this is not quite restaurant fare but real earnest home cooking and still it ticks all the boxes for good general nutrition. The veg, carb & meat box!. I also recommend a glass of red wine to enjoy with it!.
 
These are only two examples of things you can do with your slow cooker, it really is endless.
 
Maybe you should give yourself the night off cooking for Mothers Day and why don’t you pop your slow cooker on in the morning and enjoy this recipe!. 
 

Lucia & Mummy

It has been thirteen months and 6 days since I become a mother and it is the busiest yet rewarding job in the world!. HAPPY MOTHERS DAY TO ALL THE HARD WORKING MUMS!
Bonnie Brown x
 
 
 

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