Ahhh this time of year starts to wake everyone up again. Blue skys and fresh air (albeit sometimes chilly) just makes me want to open the windows and invite everyone over for a dinner on the deck!
(Obviously not talking about the mini hurricane in Adelaide today)
entertaining HAS to be one of my favourite things and licence to try out new recipes - I have heard sooo many times that you should *never* try out a new recipe when you have guests.....pfffftt! I rarely do the same thing twice, but I do have a few favourites that I will share with you.
Prawns Saganaki is one of my all time favourites to share with friends - love the fact it uses seafood (Australia has the best of course) it can all be pre-chopped and just requires one pan and takes 10 mins to cook!
Another is what I call 'french chicken'. It is basically a sauce I invented, which is French inspired
4 chicken breasts
4 cloves garlic (you actually need cloves for this one)
1 onion, quartered
Mushrooms, chopped (not neatly they are just for flavour)
Tub of Creme Fraiche (think about 300g??)
Dry white wine
Can add herbs, I like sage or thyme OR add a bouquet garni
In very large fry pan melt a tablespoon of butter, add onion, garlic and mushrooms. When onions soft, add chicken breasts, brown both sides. Add about a cup or two of white wine, simmer to reduce (just a little). Add tub of creme fraiche, salt and pepper to taste, simmer until chicken cooked through.
Place chicken breasts on serving plates. Strain sauce through sieve, into jug. Pour over chicken.
Best served with green beans and carrots.
Another one dish wonder to 'share' at the table
"Pasta bake with Pumpkin, Feta and Lamb"
1 brown onion, coarsely chopped
1 garlic clove, finely chopped (or tblspn minced garlic)
500g lamb mince
2 tsp ground cumin
1-1 1/2 cups, diced tomatoes (or use whole can, diced tomatoes)
150g baby spinach leaves
200g Home Brand dried bow tie pasta
1 Butternut, cubed (approx 2cm pieces)
100g - 200g feta, crumbled
Sprinkling shredded parmesan
Preheat oven to 180°C. Heat a splash of oil or butter, in a large non-stick frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and garlic, and cook for 1 minute. Add the mince and cook, break up any lumps, until mince changes colour. Add the cumin and cook, stirring, for about 30 seconds. Stir in the tomato.
Meanwhile, reserve 40g (1 cup) of the spinach. Place the remaining spinach in a large colander in the sink. Cook the pasta in a large saucepan of salted boiling water for 10 minutes. Add the pumpkin half way through cooking. Pour the pasta mixture over the spinach in the colander to drain. Return the pasta mixture to the pan.
Add the mince mixture and half the feta to the pasta mixture or vice versa (depending on how big each pan is!). Stir until well combined.
Transfer the mixture to a 2L (8-cup) capacity baking dish. Sprinkle with the parmesan and remaining feta. Bake for 25 minutes or until golden. Top with the reserved spinach.
And for those who love olives and chicken married together...
6 small (about 600g) chicken drumsticks
6 (about 1.5kg) chicken thigh cutlets
1kg chat (small coliban) potatoes, halved
2-4 ripe tomatoes, chopped
95g (1/2 cup) kalamata olives (or more depending if you like them)
2 garlic cloves, peeled, thinly sliced (or 2 tblspns minced garlic)
2 sprigs fresh rosemary, leaves only
125ml (1/2 cup) dry white wine
Preheat oven to 200°C. Heat oil or butter in a 3L (12-cup capacity) metal roasting dish, over medium heat. Add the chicken drumsticks and cook, turning occasionally, for 5 minutes or until browned all over. Transfer to a plate. Repeat with the chicken thigh cutlets.
Add a little more butter if needed then add the potato to the dish and cook, turning occasionally, for 5 minutes or until golden. Remove from heat.
Add the chicken to the potato in the dish and top with tomato, olives and garlic. Sprinkle with rosemary. Pour over the wine. Season with salt and pepper.
Bake in oven for 45 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through and potato is tender. Serve immediately.