Orange Chicken in a Chinese Stylee

Orange Chicken in a Chinese Stylee

Another great foodgawker find!  This recipe is from a blog called Picture The Recipe which is spot on because the picture of it totally lured me in.  And then I read the ingredients… I have to be honest, the idea of cooking with mayo didn’t inspire me, but this looked too good not to give it the benefit of the doubt. And I’m sure I’ve seen Hellmann’s promoting recipes that heat up mayo so I figured I’d give it a go and trust in the blog.

 

Don’t let the mayo put you off, there was not a clean plate in the house!!  It was quite rich but a little sauce goes a long way, which is just as well because this isn’t a dish that comes with loads of jup.  Next time I’ll serve it with some stir fried brocolli, or bak choi, the green will really temper that richness the mayo brings.  The other thing that really recommends this is how easy it was to put together, the whole egg wash flouring thing really sounds more flaff than it actually is.  And baking the chicken still gives you that lovely velvetting texture from the egg/flour coating but in a much more healthy way than frying it.   I’m off now to check out the other recipes on that blog 🙂

Orange Chicken in a Chinese Stylee
Mayo is the surprise ingredient in this delicious asian inspired orange chicken.
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Stuff you’ll need for the chicken…
  1. 2 chicken breasts, cut into bite size pieces
  2. 3 eggs
  3. 1 cup plain flour
  4. 2 tsp garlic salt
  5. 1/2 tsp hot sauce (Sirachi or Tobasco)
  6. 1/2 tsp black pepper
Stuff you’ll need for the sauce…
  1. Zest of 1 orange
  2. 1/2 cup orange juice
  3. 1/2 cup of mayonnaise (trust me, this works!)
  4. 5 tbsp Thai sweet chilli sauce
  5. Salt for seasoning
  6. Chives or spring onions for garnish
  7. Boiled rice
Cook!
  1. Get your rice on an pre-heat the oven to 200C/400F.
  2. In a medium sized bowl whisk together the eggs, hot sauce and 1 tsp of the garlic salt. Add the chicken to the egg mix and stir well so that every piece is coated.
  3. In a medium sized shallowish bowl mix together the flour, the other 1 tsp of garlic salt and the pepper.
  4. This is where I snap on the CSI vinyl gloves! Take 3 or 4 pieces of the eggy chicken and roll them around the seasoned flour until they’re coated all over. Space them out on a baking sheet.
  5. Pop in the oven and bake for 15 minutes which should cook the pieces through.
  6. While the chicken is cooking get the sauce ready by mixing together the mayonnaise, orange juice, orange zest, sweet chilli sauce and salt to season. It won’t look pretty at first (understatement!), all lumpy and sort of curdled, but once you get whisking those lumps should disappear, although you might need to persevere a bit to get rid of all of them.
  7. Pour the sauce into a wok, or similar sized pan, and set aside until the chicken is cooked. The chicken pieces will still look quite floury in places but don’t worry, we have plans for that flour later! Then, change your setting from oven to grill and put the chicken pieces under for about 5 minutes, or until there are some lovely brown bits on the chicken.
  8. While you’re grilling the chicken pieces, put the sauce on a medium-high heat until it’s gently boiling and then turn it down to simmer. When the chicken is ready to come out from under the grill, put the pieces into the sauce and coat well. The floury bits of the chicken will come loose and thicken the sauce, which should start to look glossy.
  9. Give it a couple of minutes and once you’re happy with the thickness of the sauce add some snipped chives, mix through, plate up, scatter a few more snipped chives on top for show, and serve!
fifigoesnom http://www.fifigoesnom.com/
Chicken, Mushroom & Broccoli Rice Bake

Chicken, Mushroom & Broccoli Rice Bake

Well, as fifi mentioned in her last post, Autumn is right upon our doorstep, and with it comes crisp air, the rich, musty scent of Autumn leaves, and warming food that sticks to your ribs. Count me in!

Being an American, cold-weather food for me will always have to include casseroles, and this is just one of many that I like to foist upon Fi. This one’s a bit different though; a result of a lot of tinkering with combinations, that owes a lot of its influences to Asian flavours, and on paper, doesn’t look like it should work. Trust me, it totally does, and you won’t be sorry to try it. Other Americans may be tempted to cover this with cheese (let’s be honest, it’s the go-to topper for casseroles) but, while tasty, it doesn’t need it at all. This manages to be tasty and fulfilling without needing a lot of heavy cream and the like. Give it a try, and let me know what you think!

Without further ado, then… time to get cooking!

 

Chicken, Mushroom & Broccoli Rice Bake
Serves 4
A delicious rice bake that is perfect for when the weather starts to turn.
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Ingredients
  1. Stuff you’ll need…
  2. 1 head of broccoli, chopped into florets
  3. 2 medium leeks (one large white/yellow onion works too)
  4. 4-5 large portobello mushrooms
  5. 2 chicken breasts or 4-6 thighs (boneless and skinless all around)
  6. 1 small bottle (20 cl/1 cup) white wine – Pinot Grigio or Sauvignon Blanc both really suit this dish.
  7. 150 ml double (heavy) cream
  8. 1/2-1 tsp ketjap manis (or use dark soy sauce and add 1/2 tsp molasses or treacle, and mix well)
  9. 1/2-3/4 tsp Knorr chicken powder (optional, you can crush and fluff a chicken stock cube if you can’t find Chicken Powder)
  10. couple of dashes of Maggi liquid seasoning (optional)
  11. 1 tsp Thai fish sauce
  12. salt and pepper to season
  13. 1/2-1 tsp Tarragon (dry or fresh, but remember that fresh will be much more strongly flavoured)
  14. oil or butter for cooking
  15. 1.5 cups of uncooked rice (long grain or Thai jasmine rice both work well, 2:1 ratio water:rice when cooking)
  16. Other stuff you’ll need…
  17. Wok or large frying pan
  18. Saucepan
  19. Shallow casserole dish or high sided baking tray
  20. Rice cooker (Cooks rice perfect every time. If you don’t have one, you can cook it in a covered saucepan on stove top).
Prep!
  1. First things first, get your rice on. It’ll take about 45 minutes to cook through, in the measures given, which gives you plenty of time to get the prep done.
  2. Pop the broccoli florets into a saucepan, and set them aside for now.
  3. Next, finely slice your leeks (or onion), peel your mushrooms of their thick outer skin and remove the stems before cutting into slices, and cut your chicken into bite sized pieces.
Cook!
  1. On a medium flame, heat a wok or large frying pan before adding oil/butter (or drizzle a little oil over the butter, which will give you the best flavour while preventing the butter from burning). Now add the leeks/onions and season with salt (this, again, helps to stop them burning) before frying gently for 4-5 minutes, or until tender.
  2. When the leeks/onions are cooked, add a bit more butter, and then add the sliced mushrooms. Season these with a little more salt (this helps to get the moisture out) and cook for an additional 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
  3. In the meantime, put the kettle on and preheat the oven to 200C/400F.
  4. Retrieve your saucepan of broccoli florets and sprinkle on 1/2-3/4 tsp chicken powder (optional), 1tsp fishsauce and a splash of dark soy. From the kettle, add just less than 1/3 cup of hot water (the water doesn’t need to have just boiled). Cover, and steam, covered, on high heat for approximately 5 minutes.
  5. While the broccoli is cooking, go back to the leek and mushroom mixture and add the wine to it before turning the heat up to medium/high. Reduce the liquid right down, until its about a quarter of the original volume. Stir now and again while it’s reducing down.
  6. When the wine has reduced down, lower your heat to medium and add the chicken to the pan. Cook for 2-3 minutes, or until the chicken is no longer pink.
  7. By this time, the broccoli should have cooked for approximately 5 minutes, in which case turn the heat off but leave the lid on to steam cook the last of the hardcore crunch out.
  8. Back to the wok, and season the chicken, leek/onion, mushroom and wine mixture with black pepper and approximately 1/2-1 tsp of tarragon, or to taste. Then add the double cream and stir everything in. Cook for an additional 2 minutes on a low heat before tipping in the broccoli, liquid and all. Add about 1/2-1 tsp of ketjup manis and a few dashes of maggi seasoning (optional) and stir the lot gently before turning the heat off completely.
  9. Now add the cooked rice to the wok, and stir until the rice is evenly coated with everything. Ideally, you want the rice to be a bit wet with the sauce rather than bone dry, so you may not need to use all of the cooked rice.
  10. At this point, transfer the rice mixture into a shallow casserole dish or a high side baking tray and use the back of a wooden spoon to spread it out to an even thickness. Cover the pan with tin foil and bake for 12-14 minutes. I find that covering the dish with foil helps to prevent it from drying out, and cooks it through more quickly.
fifigoesnom http://www.fifigoesnom.com/
Zanzibar Chicken

Zanzibar Chicken

Wow.  Where did Summer go??  Not that it was much of a Summer all things considered, but I swear I blinked and missed it.  So here we are, looking Autumn in the face, and I’m ready for it to be honest.  More than that I’m looking forward to it!  And here’s why… Autumn is for the return of guilty pleasure TV (Dallas and Downtown Abbey, I’m looking at you!), Hubby snuggles (preferably while indulging in aforementioned guilty pleasure TV), my wardrobe being in season again, and comfort food.  Hello comfort food!  You’re far more fun to blog about than salad!

So I’m back, and I’m going to start off the season of mists and mellow fruitfulness with a curry, even if Hubby is arguing that it should kick off with a Shepherd’s Pie 😉  It’s a lighter curry than my usuals, but I love it for that very reason.  That and I keep calling it “Harakiri  Chicken” by accident, which cracks Hubby up no end…

 

This is adapted from another gem of a recipe found in Delicious magazine with a few liberties taken on the ingredients and prepping, but I really didn’t notice a big enough difference in the tasty to warrant the harder work.  That said, there’s still an awful lot of chopping to do, but its worth it because the freshness of the ingredients really shines through.

The key to this recipe is keeping the chicken pieces quite big, NO slicing into bite sized pieces because the smaller they are the quicker they’ll dry out and as we’re leaving this all to cook for half an hour then I wouldn’t cut each thigh into more than 2 pieces, 3 pieces max.  The same holds true if you’re using chicken breasts instead, they’re even more prone to drying out so keep the pieces big.

Zanzibar Chicken
Serves 2
A light and fresh curry that is perfect for when the weather is between season.
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
45 min
Total Time
1 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
45 min
Total Time
1 min
Stuff you’ll need…
  1. 1 tbsp olive oil
  2. Small knob of butter
  3. 1 pack of chicken thighs, boneless and skinless
  4. 1 white onion, diced
  5. 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  6. 1/2 inch piece of fresh ginger, finely chopped
  7. 1-2 green chillies, deseeded and finely chopped
  8. 3 vine tomatoes, deseeded and chopped
  9. 1 tsp ground coriander
  10. 1 tsp ground cumin
  11. 3 cardomom pods, cracked open
  12. 2 cloves
  13. 1 x 400g coconut milk
  14. Juice of 1 lime
  15. Salt for seasoning
  16. Boiled rice
Cook!
  1. Put the oil and the butter in your pan, or wok, over a medium-high heat and fry the chicken until its browned all over but not cooked through – if you have chicken powder then sprinkle a little over the pieces while they’re browning to really bring out their savoury flavour – and then transfer to a bowl.
  2. In the same pan, add the onion and lower the heat. Soften the onion for 10 minutes, stirring until they are coloured.
  3. Next add the garlic, ginger and chilli and cook for another 2 minutes. Then add the tomatoes and give them a minute or two to cook down.
  4. Add all of the spices to the onion mix and cook for about a minute.
  5. Next, pour over the coconut milk and add the browned chicken pieces back in. Season well, stir well and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  6. Finally, stir the lime juice through just before you’re ready to serve, then dish up on a steamy bed of white rice.
Adapted from Delicious Magazine
Adapted from Delicious Magazine
fifigoesnom http://www.fifigoesnom.com/
Champagne Chicken Vol-Au-Vents

Champagne Chicken Vol-Au-Vents

Is it wrong that I love retro food quite as much as I do?  I’ll happily feed friends my beef stroganoff and without a side of irony, or talk Hubby into picking up an M&S prawn cocktail on his way home (if Heston can eat them, so can I!). If there’s a Black Forest Gateau option for dessert then I can be usually persuaded to indulge my rare sweet tooth.  And I’ve got my eye out for steak diane on a menu because it’s been forever since I’ve had one of those.

So it will come as no surprise that I have an irrational fondness for vol-au-vents.  If there’s a plate of them on a buffet table I will make a beeline for them.  And Christmas isn’t Christmas if I haven’t had at least one pack of M&S’s party food vol-au-vents.

I finally made them myself over Jubilee weekend, having scoured the interwebs for an appealing filling recipe I found this on Gourmet Traveller’s site, and thought the celebratory tone the champagne gives it would be perfect for a family get together.  And they went down a treat!  So much so that I didn’t eat nearly enough of them and promised Hubby I’d make them again “just for us”, which I finally did this weekend 🙂  I also seem to be having a love affair with tarragon at the moment so this killed two cravings with one dish!

 

The original recipe seems to be for small canape sized vol-au-vents, however, life is too short to make my own so I cheated and bought some ready to bake ones from Jus-Rol.  They’re quite a bit bigger than bite sized, at least two-bite sized, so I’ve adapted my recipe accordingly.

Champagne Chicken Vol-Au-Vents
Yields 8
More retro indulgence! Puff pastry nibbles for parties or seriously posh TV snackage.
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
35 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
35 min
Stuff you’ll need…
  1. 8 Jus-Rol vol-au-vent cases
  2. milk or lightly whisked egg for brushing pastry
  3. 2 sprigs of tarragon
  4. 2 tbsp thinly sliced tarragon leaves
  5. 1/2 small leek (40gm), white part only, thinly sliced
  6. 1 lemon, finely grated rind and juice
  7. 2 tbsp double cream
  8. 1 small chicken breast (about 250gm)
  9. 250 ml Champagne or sparkling white wine
  10. 125 ml water
Cook!
  1. In a small saucepan, small enough to fit the chicken snugly and cover with the poaching liquor, combine the champagne, water, leek, lemon rind and tarrogon sprigs. Bring to the boil over a medium heat, then add the chicken and return to the boil for 10 minutes (keep an eye on the pot as it will try to bubble over).
  2. After the 10 minutes, remove the pan from the heat, cover, and leave to cool completely while the chicken poaches through.
  3. Once the poaching liquor has cooled down, remove the chicken and finely shred it (fingers or two small forks are perfect) and refrigerate it until needed.
  4. Strain the poaching liquor only into a clean sauccepan (you can throw away the tarrogon sprigs and leeks) and bring to the boil again over a medium heat. Cook the poaching liquor down until it’s reduced to 50ml which should take 15 to 20 minutes. Keep an eye on it as it can cook down quickly – I kept pouring it into a measuring jug to check how much was left, then pouring it back into the pan and then back into the measuring jug, until I had my 50ml. Leave to cool completely.
  5. While the liquor is cooling, preheat the oven to 200C. Brush the vol-au-vent cases with a little milk or egg and cook per the package instructions.
  6. While the cases are cooking, combine the chicken, reduced cooking liquor, cream and sliced tarrogon in a bowl. Season to taste with lemon juice and sea salt.
  7. When the pastry cases are ready, divide the chicken filling among them and then return to the overn for 2-3 minutes, until the chicken is warmed through. Scatter with something green and decorative, and serve immediately with the remainder of your bottle of champagne!
Adapted from Gourmet Traveller
Adapted from Gourmet Traveller
fifigoesnom http://www.fifigoesnom.com/
Apricot Chicken

Apricot Chicken

Apologies for the recent radio silence but life got very stupidly busy all at once, as Hubby started a new job (in the Scottish food industry, no less!) and my gorgeous scrumptious beautiful nephew arrived into the world!  So yes, much distraction has abounded of late, but hopefully this is me back in the blogging swing of things 🙂

And to ease me gently back in, a mind-boggling easy recipe that a work chum shared with me years ago and became an instant favourite with Hubby .  Bear with the randomness of the ingredients, because thrown together they are quite simply, if somewhat surprisingly, delicious – the sweetness of the apricots go really well with the saltiness of the onion soup mix.  And the ingredients really are literally thrown together and then thrown into the oven!  Seriously.  The most work you’ll have to do on the night is the washing up…

Serve it up with some lovely fluffy boiled rice for the best ever lazy (but no less tasty for it!) dinner.

Apricot Chicken
Serves 2
Tender chicken in a lush, savoury onion-cream sauce with sweet bites of apricot keeping things interesting.
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Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
45 min
Total Time
50 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
45 min
Total Time
50 min
You’ll need
  1. 2 chicken breasts (skinless)
  2. 1 can of apricots in juice or light syrup (only get full on syrup if that’s all there is)
  3. 1 packet of Knorr Onion Soup powder or Lipton’s Onion Soup & Dip Mix
  4. 300ml single cream
  5. Boiled rice
Instructions
  1. Throw together!: (I’m too embarrassed to use my usual “Cook!” for this!)
  2. First things first, get the oven on and preheat to 200 C.
  3. While you’re waiting for the oven to warm up, grab the oven dish and in it strain the apricot juice (keep the fruit in the can for now) before adding the single cream and then the onion soup powder (fifi’s top tip – this order is much less messy than if you put the soup powder in first, trust me…).
  4. Whisk it together with a small fork or small whisk until the powder isn’t lumpy anymore.
  5. Gently place the chicken breasts into the mixture, and either spoon the mixture over them or give them a quick roll over in the mixture, before adding the pieces of apricot. I generally use the apricot to fill in any gaps, giving them a gentle poke to submerge them.
  6. Put in the oven and cook for 40-45 minutes.
  7. The chicken should be lovely and tender at this point. I usually pluck them out (shoogle all the sauce off because you don’t want to waste a delicious drop!) and slice them into bite sized pieces, then put them back into the sauce, give everything a good stir, and then serve the lot over rice.
fifigoesnom http://www.fifigoesnom.com/

Sadly, our local supermarkets have all stopped stocking packet onion soup powder, but there are substitutes.  I’ve been assured that Ainsley’s Onion Cup Of Soup mix works just as well – use a whole box worth and be sure to pick the croutons out first – but I haven’t tried it myself as we found Lipton’s Onion Soup & Dip Mix that is a perfect match.  We get ours from Lupe Pinto’s, a local Mexican deli that also imports lots of tasty things from the USA including the.  Luckily for us they are local, but they also deliver if you’re not.