Friday, January 29, 2010

The meal of Epicness part 2.

The time has come for me to share with you the main part of The Meal of Epicness.

Home made chicken schnitzel with baked potatoes (loosely based on this recipe by Jill Dupleix) and steamed veges. Unfortunately, not gravy. Sorry, I'm not that fantastic.

SO, I took just under 1kg of chicken breast (always breast, I'm sorry, I just don't do thigh meat) and trimmed all the fat off of it, and then I pounded those bad boys inbetween two pieces of plastic wrap to within in inch of their life. Nice and thin.

Next, I set up a bowl with 1 lightly whisked egg, a splash of milk and some salt and pepper. And a plate sprinkled (very, very generously) with breadcrumbs. Dip the chicken in the egg mix, then coat in the breadcrumbs. Normally I would do this twice for each piece to ensure a nice thick, crunchy coating but unfortunately I was almost out of breadcrumbs so one layer had to suffice. 

This is what they look like when you have dipped and breaded them. See how nice and thin they are?? That's how you want it, you don't want them thick otherwise they take too long to cook and you run the chance of the breading getting burnt. And we don't want burnt schnitzel now, do we!!

Pop them in the fridge for a while, it'll help the breadcrumbs to stick and keep sticking when they're being cooked.

While the schnitzels are in the fridge, take enough potatoes to feed four people. Generally, that would be four potatoes, right?? Wrong. With these potatoes, you need more. You'll always need more, they are just that darn good. I used smallish potatoes, and I used three per person. That's right. THREE. Do it, you won't regret it.

Scrub the potatoes, leave their skins on, then pop them in a pot of boiling water and boil them until you can stick a fork in them know, nice and tender, all that business. I think mine were in there for about 13 minutes.

Drain them, put them on a tray lined with baking paper and proceed to crush them with the aid of a potato masher. Just press ever so gently, and the potato should collapse. You don't want to end up with a pile of mush, so it's important not to overcook them and it's super important not to press too hard with the masher.

Then, brush them with a mixture of butter and olive oil. I don't use measurements, it's just common sense really. Use as much butter and oil as you think you'll need to cover 3 potatoes per person. Easy!! Then sprinkle them with some sea salt and cracked black pepper. Feel free to chuck in some herbs. I would have used some rosemary, but as we all know from Part 1, there was no rosemary. Hmph.

Pop them in a preheated oven (approx 180c) for about 20 minutes. You want them to crisp up nicely.

Now that your potatoes have been in the oven for about 10 minutes, and you have presumeably peeled and cut any other vegies you might want (I did carrot, beans and broccoli) grab that chicken out of the fridge. You want to start cooking it in a pan that has been doused generously with oil, and also start steaming your vegies of choice. I used rice bran oil - I like rice bran oil. It has a higher smoke point than your average oil (254c) so it makes it perfect for frying things!! And it has a nice flavour too unlike canola oil, or sometimes even olive oil - I like olive oil but sometimes it's a bit too rich for me. Apparently it's a healthier choice too, because I'm ALL about the health benefits when I'm frying my food ;)

Pretty much just cook the chicken for 2 - 3 minutes on each side. My chicken was ready a bit before the potatoes, so I just chucked it in the oven to keep warm. It also helped it to crisp up a bit.

Once it's all ready, serve it in a pretty plate, like so:

Mmm those vegies look nice. Nothing like fresh steamed veg. Delicious.

Yummm schnitzel is pretty much the best food in the world.

 Mmm crispy potatoes. The best kind of potato.

Stay tuned for Part 3!!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Happy Australia Day!!

Woo hoo, Australia Day is here!!

Whatever you're doing today, beaching it, bbq, spending it with family, friends, or going out for the fireworks, I hope you have fun.

Yesterday, to get in to the spirit of things, I decided to make some lamingtons.

Last year, I was living in England for Australia Day and my flatmate made some Lamingtons from a recipe that was in a free magazine called TNT that is issued in England for foreigners (specifically Aussies, Saffas & Kiwis). They tasted really good and I made a point of ripping the page out and bringing the recipe back to Aus with me, and decided to use it to make them this year!!

They turned out really nice - they're not as spongey as a Lamnington you would buy from the supermarket, but they've got a really nice flavour and the cake isn't too sweet which is good as it balances nicely with the sweeteness of the icing.

Lamingtons - makes approx 18

125g butter, softened
1/2 cup of sugar

cream this until light and fluffy

add to this 2 eggs & vanilla and beat well

measure out 125 mls milk (I used buttermilk as I had some in the fridge that needed to be used up) and 1 1/2 cups of Self Raising flour.

Fold in milk and flour alternatively until it is all combined.

Pour in to a Lamington tin and bake at 180C for about 20 mins or until a light golden colour and the cake comes away from the edges of the pan.

Cool on a rack, slice in to squares and chill in the fridge until you're ready to dip them in the icing.

Icing recipe:

1 cup icing sugar (confectioners sugar)
2 tbsp cocoa
2 tbsp boiling water
2 tbsp butter

And you'll need about 1 1/2 - 2 cups of coconut for rolling the iced cakes in.

Add all the above to a saucepan and stir constantly until boiled. Dip chilled squares of cake in the icing and let the excess drip off. Toss immediately in the coconut and then pop them on a plate and let them set.

That's it. It's pretty simple and they're damn tasty too!!

This is what it looks like when it's been baked at 180c for about 20 mins

Cut in to squares

And once they've been dipped in icing/coconut.

Looks like they're having a nice little picnic ;)


Sunday, January 24, 2010

The meal of Epicness part 1.

Yesterday, I was in a cooking mood. I wanted to spend the day in the kitchen. And that I did.

I needed an excuse to cook a feast though - feasts don't go down particularly well when there's only two of you. So I invited my parents over and set to work cooking.

First part of this epic meal:

Bread Rolls a la The Pioneer Woman

I always see these bread rolls lurking on the Heavenly Recipes bit on the side of PW's main page. I always stare at it longingly, wishing that Australia had frozen bread roll dough in their freezer section since I'm usually too lazy to make the dough and wait for it to rise etc etc. But not this time!!

Unfortunately for me, the supermarket didn't have any Rosemary. Really. Truly. Honestly. NO. ROSEMARY. Colour me CRANKY!!

So I chose to use Thyme instead. Butter. Sea salt. Thyme. More Butter. A little cracked black pepper.


I used a basic bread dough recipe:

125ml milk
125ml water
40g butter

warm that in a saucepan and then put it in your bread maker pan

add to that

1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
375g bread flour
3 rounded tbsp active dry yeast

And then put your breadmaker on the dough cycle.

When the dough cycle has done, knead it just a bit, divide it in to 8 equal portions and pop em in a round pan. Make sure there's some space for them to rise, cause rise they will!! 

I got lazy, so I used a disposable pan. Less mess. Less for me to clean. All is good.

This is what they look like when you've buttered/salted/thymed/buttered/peppered.

And this is what they look like when you've baked them at about 180C for 15 - 20 minutes and brushed a tad more butter on top of them.

Oh god, I can't even convey the deliciousness that these are. You need to make them. Please, for the love of all that is holy, MAKE THEM.

I can't tell you how much I love The Pioneer Woman for these.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The only scone recipe you'll ever need.

These scones are GOOD. Good. Simple. Easy. GOOD!!

Here's a couple of odd things about me - I love to eat fruit. I love dried apricots. I hate sultanas. Dates. Dried banana. Dried apple. Cooked fruit. Fruitcake. To me, the best way to ruin a scone/finger bun/cinnamon roll is to incorporate some kind of godawful fruit/date/sultana mix in to it. UGH. Disgusting. I also don't like jam (I know. I'm sorry. I'm a shit person aren't I!!)

So consequently, these scones don't have fruit in them (the way a good scone should be!!) and I don't eat them with jam either. Just cream. Mountains of cream. Oh good god the cream.

Sorry. Getting carried away.

Anyway, check them out:

Yum....a bit crispy and golden on the outside, fluffy and warm on the inside.....I could live on these things!!


3 cups self raising flour
1/4 cup salted butter
1 cup *reaaally* cold milk
1 tsp fresh lemon juice

Preheat oven to 220C. In a medium bowl, sift flour and rub in butter until there are no lumps of butter visible. Mix milk and lemon juice and stir in to flour mixture.

Once combined, turn on to a lightly floured surface and softly knead for 30 seconds - seriously, don't do it for too long otherwise the dough will get tough and no one likes tough scones now, do they!!

Place them on a cookie tray and brush the tops with milk. Bake for 8 - 10 minutes.

Get them out of the oven. Get some cream from the fridge (just make sure it's not that damn cooking cream - it doesn't whip [it's low fat boo hiss] I know this from personal experience). Burn your hands on the too hot scones, cut in half and go ahead and slop some cream on one of these babies and proceed to devour like a pig.

It's ok, you deserve it.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Too hot in Sydney. No words. Just pictures.