live life, celebrate food, share both with those you love

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Sticky Asian Chicken Drumsticks

My hubby loves chicken drumsticks!  So when they are cheap, I buy a few kilos, portion them and put them in the freezer.  The problem I have is my mum only ever ate chicken breasts, so I don't actually know what to do with drummies... but I'm learning!

Hubby remembered his mum used to slow bake drumsticks with soy sauce, but neither could remember what other ingredients made up the sauce.  So off to the internet I went and I actually figured out the original recipe - big pat on the back for me!

This is a great mid-week meal as the total prep time is 5 minutes, is cheap and can easily feed a crowd.  Also, if you have a slow cooker, feel free to use it for this recipe.
- 6 chicken drumsticks
- Olive oil
- 1 onion, finely diced
- 1 clove garlic, crushed
- 1/2 c soy sauce
- 1/4 c brown sugar
- 400gr can of crushed tomatoes
- Steamed rice to serve

How to...
- Preheat oven to 160 degrees celcius.
- Heat a little olive oil, over a medium-low flame, in a oven proof dish that's large enough to hold the drumsticks in a single layer.
- Add the drumsticks and fry each side until starting to colour.
- Whilst the drumsticks are frying, mix the onion, garlic, soy, sugar and tomatoes in a bowl.
- Add the tomato mixture to the drumsticks and move the chicken around to coat.
- Place the lid on top of the dish, or cover with foil and place in the oven for an hour - don't worry if this dish cooks a little longer, it shouldn't dry out too quickly.
- I like to take the lid (or foil) off for the last 15 minutes to let the sauce reduce a little and make the chicken that little bit sticky.
- Serve with rice, spoonfuls of sauce and chopped fresh coriander.

Thursday, 10 November 2011


If you're living in Australia, how excited are we that Banana prices have FINALLY come down?! For those of you not in Oz, prices hit $15 per kg, instead of the usual $1-3 per kg, due to natural disasters which destroyed crops.  So if you were lucky enough to eat a banana over the winter months, you are obviously a kazillionaire!

Anyway, a few weeks ago a morning news team were lucky enough to travel to NYC for the week - how do I get a job on that show??  The lovely ladies on the show were raving about a dessert they'd picked up from the ridiculously famous Magnolia Bakery called Banana Pudding.  Luckily, I was able to find the recipe all over the web and decided to try it out.  It was yum-O!  And very popular at the dinner party I took it along to.  Mind you I did make a few adjustments as the recipe is from the US and we don't have all the same ingredients Down Under.

Word of warning... this is not diet friendly... but it's totally worth cheating!  On the up side this dessert can be made in advance and just like Tiramisu, tastes best a day or two afterwards.

- 1 can of sweetened condensed milk
- 1 1/2 cups ice cold water
- 1 pack of instant vanilla pudding
- 2 cups cream (original recipe says 3, but I found this too heavy)
- 3 or 4 bananas, thinly sliced
- 1 pack of Sponge Finger biscuits (smaller pack is enough, 395gr)
- Toasted flaked almonds or hazelnuts or a crushed up Flake chocolate bar
- Frangelico, or liqueur of choice (optional)
- Milk (optional)

How to...
- Using a cake mixer (or a medium bowl, whisk and a little elbow grease) beat together the condensed milk and the ice cold water until well combined, should take about a minute.
- Add the pudding mix and beat until dissolved, about 2 minutes.
- Cover and refrigerate until set, about 3-4 hours or overnight.
- Once the pudding mix is set, beat the cream just until stiff peaks form - but not until it's stiff and butter like.
- Fold the pudding mix into the cream until blended and no steaks remain.  The mix should be pale yellow.
- In a large serving dish (glass is prettiest) arrange one third of the sponge biscuits on the base of the dish and sprinkle generously with liqueur for adults, or milk for kids. If it's easier you can quickly dip the biscuits before you layer the dessert.  But don't soak as these biscuits will fall apart very quickly.
- Then layer a third of the bananas and gently spread a third of the pudding mixture on top.
- Repeat the layering process so you have 9 layers in total, finishing with the pudding mixture.
- Sprinkle the toasted nuts or chocolate on top, cover with cling wrap and place in the fridge for at least 2 hours before serving.
Whoops! Forgot the chocolate!

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Oils, ain't Oils!

You can flavour oil a few different ways, but my two favourites are: 

Instant flavour
Pour some oil in a pan and before you heat or cook anything, add some strong flavours like garlic, chilli or fresh rosemary.  To do this cut your chilli in half, slice the garlic nice and thick or clean and dry well a few sprigs of rosemary.  Add them to the oil, then turn on the heat to low.  As the oil heats it will draw the flavours out, which will flavour whatever you throw in next.  The trick is to throw out the garlic and chilli before they go brown as the garlic will get bitter and burn long before anything else gets cooked.  This works well with any strong ingredients that have really strong flavours.  You could even cool the oil, add some vinegar or lemon juice and use as a dressing!

Make it intense
Grab a clean (preferably sterilised) bottle with a screw top lid.  The neck has to be wide enough so you can push your flavours into the bottle.  Push through garlic, chilli, porcini mushrooms, rosemary, citrus peel, whole peppercorns - whatever flavour you want the oil to have.  Add in the best quality olive oil you can afford - opt for an extra light virgin oil as the flavour is the most mild.*  Close the bottle and place in your pantry for at least a week so the flavours draw out into the oil.  You can now use this to cook or as a salad dressing.

* note - extra light virgin olive oil is extra light in flavour only, the fat or calorie count is exactly the same as any other olive oil.