When I pulled this ingredient out of the Mystery Box last weekend…. I just knew I had to use it for a dessert creation. For don’t lemons just provide the perfect flavour when it comes to tasty vibrant desserts…. And not to mention pretty ones…. Did you know? It is presumed that lemons were first grown in India, North Burma and China, although their precise origin is unclear. Not only are lemons rich in vitamin C and make a wonderful addition to both savoury and sweet dishes, they are also a natural cleaner and have antibacterial properties! My chosen dessert using lemons was made at the request of Mr BBB (who seemingly enjoys my other more ‘adventurous’ baked creations, but who really is a lover of simple desserts at heart). One of his all time favourites being…Lemon tart. But not just any lemon tart in this instance…but a gluten free lemon tart! In all honesty, the GF pastry I made was a little tough to work with. It was rather fragile, and required more of a ‘shaping’ into the tart tin rather than a ‘roll and place’. It may have also stuck in the tin after cooking, making slicing the tart rather difficult. But workability aside, it was a lovely light and flaky pastry – and spot on in terms of texture and flavour. Although it seems my quest for the perfect GF pastry continues! The filling itself, could not have been easier to make. Just lemon juice, eggs and cream….. Poured into the pastry and baked for an hour or so, until just set. Sprinkled with icing sugar… and we had ourselves a lovely little lemon tart. And yes, I confess… The lack of "slice" photos may be indicative of how difficult it ended up being to get out of the tin. Although, I did manage to get one slice that didn’t look too bad… From this angle lol. Oh well….. at least it tasted yummy. I just have to perfect the recipe before sharing it with you, a task for which I am sure Mr BBB is quite happy to be the ‘quality assurance’ tester 😉 What about you? Are you a fan of lemon desserts?
No ordinary lemon chicken
When I think of lemon chicken, I think of blah. I think of ordinary. I have to say, however, that this recipe from Adam Liaw’s cookbook (Two Asian Kitchens) quickly changed my view, and has made me quite the lemon chicken fan. I gave this cookbook to Mr BBB a while ago, for a couple of reasons. First, he likes to cook. Even if he is not the most calm and collected cook. Seriously, if we had a swear jar it would be half full by the time Mr BBB finished preparing the dish lol. Second, he is a much bigger fan of Asian food than I am (I like Asian food, its just that he loves Asian food). And third, due to said love of Asian food, he is always bugging me to include more interesting Asian dishes in our weekly meal plan. So buying the cookbook and encouraging him to cook whatever his heart desired seemed to be a smart move on my part. He satisfies his craving for new Asian dishes, and I get a night off cooking! So it was upon this background that the first receipe from Two Asian Kitchens was attempted by Mr BBB, with some assistance from his trusty
wife dish washer/carrot chopper/bench cleaner. And, if the other dishes in this cookbook turn out as good as this lemon chicken did, then I will be suitably impressed. Over the weekend we got our essential supplies, including shaoxing wine and chestnut flour, both of which we found at our local Asian grocer. The chicken was flattened slightly, then marinated in a mixture of GF soy sauce, sesame oil and shaoxing wine for an hour or so. When it came time to cook, the chicken was dipped in egg white… Floured (in the chestnut flour).. Then pan-fried in a decent amount of vegetable oil for 4 minutes or so each side. The result being some seriously cruncha-licious chicken…. Gluten free! To finish the dish, we placed the chicken on a bed of brown rice and shredded lettuce, then topped it with the lemon sauce star. Julienned carrots and spring onions, cooked in a mixture of sugar, vinegar, lemon juice and zest, stock and arrowroot, creating a fresh and vibrant lemon sauce. Between the crunch of the chicken, the sweet zing of the lemon sauce, and the softness of the rice, this dish ended up being quite a star. No gluggy lemon chicken in sight here! We both agreed that this would make a wonderful addition to a home-cooked Asian banquet, where a big platter of rice / lettuce /sliced chicken, and the flavoursome lemon sauce, would surely be well received. I was really impressed with the chestnut flour too, and am thinking perhaps I could use it to make a chicken schnitzel of sorts….. just an idea 😉 What about you? Do you have a favourite cuisine? Mine is probably Thai at the moment, although it changes all the time!
Lovely lentil stew with lemony herb yoghurt
Happy Friday lovely people! I don’t know about you, but I am so very happy that it is Friday. It probably has something to do with the fact that I have thought the last two days were Friday, when obviously they weren’t. So a part of me is feeling a little ‘finally’ about the whole thing! And to kick of the weekend, I headed to the gym for some elliptical action after work, enjoying the fact that is is never too busy on a Friday evening. Then, after picking up my (hopefully) fixed PC from the repair shop, I arrived home on quite the high. I am just ignoring the fact that I broke my favourite sunglasses today. My Friday night high continued when Mr BBB declared it a no cooking night, and arrived home with a tasty take away dinner in hand. And, as I am sure you have seen a takeaway GF pizza before, I thought I might share last night’s dinner creation with you instead. Because, really, it ended up being a very tasty (albeit random) addition to our weekly dinner menu! With leftover vegetables as a starting point, the addition of lentils for some bulk and a variety of spices for some punch, this one pot stew came together really easily. I really do love lentils, in all their hippy stereotype glory. I particularly appreciate how quickly they cook, as opposed to many other dried legumes or pulses, making them a good (and healthy!) dinner option when time is limited. Aside from sautéing the onions and garlic first, I literally threw all the remaining ingredients for this meal in a pot, added some stock, covered it and let it cook slowly for 45 minutes or so. I actually had the stew slowly cooking on the stove while Mr BBB and I took our evening walk last night, meaning that by the time we arrived home, all I had to do was pop some GF bread in the toaster to serve on the side, and make a lemony herb yoghurt to dollop on the top of the lentils. Which in itself took a matter of moments. Just Greek yoghurt, lemon zest and some finely chopped parsley. Served atop the bowl of lentils… Adding just the right amount of extra "zing" to an already flavoursome dish. We both practically licked our bowls clean, so I am recording this little lentil dish as a win! There was, however, room for dessert… Lovely lentil stew with lemony herb yoghurt (serves 2) This is a lovely little one-pot stew, that comes together quite quickly, making it a worthwhile addition to a weeknight meal plan. I served mine with a few slices of GF toast on the side, however it depends on your appetite. While I used carrots, celery and cauliflower, feel free to experiment and use whatever vegetables you have on hand. The recipe makes enough to feed 2 people, however you could easily double (or triple!) the quantities, to have tasty leftovers the next day.
- 1 tbs olive oil
- 1 onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp curry powder
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 1/2 cup lentils
- 1 carrot, diced
- 3 stalks celery, diced
- 1/4 head cauliflower, separated into small florets
- 2 cups stock
- Handful chopped parsley (+ extra 1-2 tbs finely chopped parsley for yoghurt)
- 150g Greek yoghurt
- Rind of 1 lemon (or more or less to taste)
- To make the lemony herb yoghurt, combine the Greek yoghurt, lemon rind and chopped parsley in a small bowl. Cover and place in the fridge.
- Heat the olive oil in a medium pot over a medium heat. Add the onion and garlic, and sautee until the onion starts to soften.
- Add the spices and cook, stirring, for 15 seconds.
- Add the remaining ingredients, stir well to combined.
- Cover, lower heat, and cook slowly for 45 minutes – until the lentils have softened an soaked up most of the liquid. Stir through handful of chopped parsley.
- Divide among serving bowls, and top with a dollop of the lemony herb yoghurt.
What about you? What is your favourite way to use lentils?
Pass the Paella
Training: Body Balance One of my favourite cookbooks at the moment is this one… And, when I saw that it had a recipe for paella, well I was sold. Particularly when I saw that it called for homemade vegetable stock, infused with porcini mushrooms. Divine. I started by slicing and salting eggplant. Then sauteeing it in a little olive oil until golden brown. In a separate frypan I heated the remaining vegetables – sliced capsicum, leek and diced tomatoes. Cooked until softened… Before returning the cooked eggplant to the pan. Next – I added a combination of aborio and brown rice. Finished with the rich homemade stock. Covered and simmered until the rice had cooked. The original recipe called for the addition of artichokes – but I didnt have any. So, deviating from the vehetarian version, I threw in some prawns and peas during the final 10 minutes of cooking. Then, with a sprinkle of parsley… And a squeeze of lemon juice…. Dinner was served. Served communally straight from the pan. Now THIS is my kinda meal. Pack with flavours and textures… And vibrant not only in colour but also in taste. I think this would make a great dinner party dish, served communally with a good loaf of crusty bread on the side (or oat bread in my case!). Actually, I know this would make a great dinner party dish! One pot, no fuss!! What about you? Do you have a favourite dinner party dish?