Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Back to normal

Hello my beautiful people!  I have finally finished writing out my cookbook!  It really doesn't take that long considering they are my own recipes that I already had :) though, some are new ones I wrote especially for the book.  Now I just have to finish making everything so that we can get photos.  Big job!  Ahhh well, it's gotta be done.  What a shame that I have to have so much good food in my cupboards ... :)

Anywho, now that I'm not so focused on finishing that, I can concentrate on writing for you!  Amongst all of the preparations for the book, I have still managed to come up with some recipes to share on here with you lot.

Let's see, I made Apricot Jam/Sauce (I'll explain that one shortly), chicken spring rolls and a chicken salad.

In true Calamity Jayne styles, I have been having some nightmares in the kitchen!  For my book I am including my tan square - you know, the one that others struggle to make - and guess what?  Yup, the caramel decided not to play the game.  I knew while I was mixing it that it wasn't going to set.  So I think another thing that needs to be emphasised for that recipe is that when you are heating the caramel, DO NOT rush and have heat up too high.  It needs to be on a really low heat (how I normally do it, but was trying to get it done faster) for the caramel to stay nice and thick.
Also my Rocky Road decided to not go nice and smooth like it normally does, and was more like a fudge, but I persevered and got it all mixed in anyways.  Fingers crossed it tastes the same!

The other Calamity Jayne mishap, that actually turned out pretty good, is my Apricot Jam.  We have an apricot tree here at home, so of course, we have heaps of apricots.  I decided that I wanted to make some jam with them, and I was going to be different and make it an Apricot and Cinnamon Jam.  I thought I'd attempt my own recipe.  I know the Edmonds used Apricot kernels in it, but I couldn't get them to open up, so I flagged that idea.  Not sure if that is the root of my problem or if perhaps I needed more sugar, but as you can probably guess, my jam didn't set.  However, my "jam" tastes amazing!  It's great as a sauce on yoghurt or with crumble, we even used it as a dipping sauce for the spring rolls I made, and it still tastes great on toast - just a little runnier than normal.  But hey!  Honey can be runny so why can't my jam?? :)

For those of you who would still like to attempt it, here is my recipe :)

Apricot and Cinnamon Jam

12 Apricots, halved and stoned
1C sugar
1 stick cinnamon
1/2C water

Chop apricot halves into half again and put in saucepan with cinnamon stick and water.  Heat until pulpy.
Add sugar and heat until dissolved.  Bring to the boil.
Strain (this is possibly my other problem but I like it smooth!). 
Put back in saucepan and boil 15 minutes. 
Remove cinnamon.
Pour into sterilized jars.

Chicken Spring Rolls

Not as hard as you'd think, honestly.  A little time consuming, but simple.

Chicken tenderloins - about 8 or so
spring roll papers
2Tbsp Mirin
2Tbsp Soy Sauce
1 clove garlic crushed
1tsp ginger grated/crushed
Splash of fish sauce
Extra soy sauce
carrots, bok choy, bean sprouts, onion
Vermicelli (rice noodles)

Cut chicken into small chunks, 1cm (ish).
In a bowl combine mirin, soy sauce, garlic and ginger.  Put chicken in here and toss to coat.
Heat oil in pan and cook chicken, until cooked through.  Set aside.
Finely slice veges - carrots into matchsticks etc, fry off the veges (except bean sprouts).  Drain any excess liquid.
Put vermicelli in boiling water in a bowl for a few minutes.  Drain and then add to veges to toss. 
Add chicken back to the pan.  Pour in another few tablespoons of soy sauce and a splash of fish sauce.
Lay out on a tray to cool down - if you try to make them when the ingredients is too hot then you will get soggy spring rolls.
Once ready to go, open spring roll papers and put under a slightly dampened tea towel so they don't dry out.
Lay one on board in diamond shape, place three or four bean sprouts on corner edge closest to you then top with 1-2 Tablespoons of other filling ingredients.  Fold corner over the filling, roll once and then fold in the two sides careful to not leave air bubbles.  Continue rolling.  Seal edge with a little water.
When you have made them, heat oil in pan - doesn't need to be deep, but the bottom covered.  Carefully add rolls to the pan a few at a time.  Let them brown on each side.
Remove and sit on paper towels to absorb some of the oil. 
Serve with sweet chilli sauce, or apricot sauce :)

Chicken Salad

Two chicken breasts
4 rashers of streaky bacon
garam marsala
salt and pepper
olive oil
citrus vinaigrette

Lay chicken on large sheet of baking paper.  Season with salt and pepper, and sprinkle with garam marsala.  Fold baking paper over and bash with rolling pin.
Heat pan and add chicken.  Add bacon to pan, draped over top of chicken or just in the bottom of the pan.
Let the meat brown and crisp.
Prepare salad.  Wash and spin lettuce, chop tomatoes and capsicum.  Grate some cheese and carrot.  Season and drizzle with olive oil and vinaigrette.  Toss to combine.
When chicken is cooked and browned, remove from pan and slice. 
Serve salad into bowls and top with chicken and bacon.

So there you go, some tasty recipes with stories included :) you're welcome!
Have a great rest of the week and Happy cooking!