chickpea, walnut & wild rice stuffed chicken

Chicken is a low fat, versatile and healthy meat option, high in protein and nutritious. The mild flavour of chicken works as the perfect base for a variety of beautiful flavours that will leave the mouth watering.
The cooked carcass can be turned into a basic chicken stock, meaning that very little is wasted.
This dish is a guilt-free, healthy and nutritious meal, perfect for any family dinner table.

Serve with a side of green buttered vegetables, roasted butternut or a salad and a beurre blanc sauce or chicken gravy or lemon butter.

ingredients | serves 6 | a little effort
1 whole chicken
2 red onions, quartered
6 whole garlic cloves, skin on & lightly crushed
1 small white onion, finely chopped
2t crushed garlic
80g walnuts, finely chopped
12g thyme, leaves only + more for garnish
200g cooked wild rice
1 tin chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 lemon, juiced and zested
1 lemon, halved
bunch fresh parsley, finely chopped
1 1/2t crushed cumin seeds
1/2t salt
good grind of black pepper
olive oil
2T butter
fresh cilantro / coriander, to serve

Preheat the oven to 200C/180 with fan. Cook the wild rice according to package instruction or use ready cooked wild rice from your local grocer.
Heat about one tablespoon olive oil with the butter & sauté the onion & garlic. About three minutes, until just cooked.
Add the chickpeas, walnuts & thyme and cook, while stirring, for about 8 minutes. Add a knob of butter and then roughly mash the mixture with a masher.
Tip the chickpea mixture into the rice, add the lemon zest and juice, parsley, cumin seeds, salt & pepper and mix to combine.
Using your hands, fill the cavity of the chicken with the stuffing, ensuring that it is not packed too tightly. Then stuff the chicken under the skin.

Rub olive oil into the skin of the chicken and season with salt & pepper.

Spoon the remaining stuffing into an ovenproof dish and place the chicken on top.
Add the quartered red onion & whole garlic cloves to the dish.
Stuff the halved lemon into the cavity so to close the cavity.

Cover the dish with tinfoil and cook in the preheated oven for 30 minutes.
Turn the oven down to 180C/160 with fan, remove the tin foil and roast for a further 1 hour, 10 minutes until the chicken is cooked and the skin is beautifully browned and crispy.

Rest the chicken for at least 15 minutes before carving and garnish with lots of fresh cilantro/coriander and thyme.

citrus crepes with stewed apple & toasted nuts

Here, a delicious breakfast that can double as dessert. Light, zesty crepes with a drizzle of maple syrup, topped with cinnamon stewed Granny Smith apples, toasted walnuts, creme fraiche and a little extra drizzle of maple.
A great way to start any morning as stewed apple enhances digestion and vitality. Pectin, found in apples, help the body to cleanse itself of toxins & metabolise fat effectively.
I like my mornings to start well, not rushed, so I prepped the stewed apples and batter last night and stored it in the fridge until this morning. As for the toasted walnuts – I always have a jar of toasted nuts on hand as I often use it to add crunch to salads, puddings, fruit bowls or vegetables.
All in all, this beautiful plate of absolute deliciousness was on the table in 12 minutes.
There are so many recipes in which you can use stewed apple so any leftovers will not be wasted. Store it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.

for the stewed apple
4/5 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and chopped
5T castor sugar (you can also use brown sugar)
1t vanilla paste
2T water
1t finely grated ginger
2T lemon juice
1/2t ground cinnamon
maple syrup (to serve)
creme fraiche (to serve)
1/2C walnuts or any nuts, chopped and toasted (to serve)

for the crepes
1C all purpose flour
2 eggs
1T canola or sunflower oil
1/2t vanilla essence
pinch of salt
1C milk or half and half water & milk
zest of 1/2 lemon
zest of 1/2 orange

how to
Place a saucepan on low heat, and add all of the ingredients for the stewed apple to the pan. Cook, stirring regularly for about 10 minutes or until the apples have softened.
Remove from the heat, taste and adjust if needed. (Add more lemon juice if too sweet or a little more sugar if too tart.)
Set aside.

Sift the flour into a bowl, add the eggs, oil, vanilla, salt & milk and whisk well until you have a smooth batter.
Gently mix in the zest of the lemon and orange.
Heat a lightly oiled non stick frying pan over medium heat and pour the batter into the pan, using about 1/4 cup for each crepe.
Tilt the pan with circular movements so that the surface is evenly coated.
Cook the crepe for about 2 minutes until lightly browned at the bottom, before turning to cook the other side.

to assemble
Spread about a spoonful of creme fraiche over each crepe and drizzle with about a 2 teaspoons of maple syrup.
Fold in half twice. Repeat until you have the desired amount of crepes prepared.
Top the crepes with the stewed apple, a good dollop of creme fraiche, the toasted nuts, if using and another last drizzle of maple syrup.
Sprinkle with icing sugar. (Optional)

easy & quick chicken a la king

There are only so many hours in a day and I like making them count, especially since I so love spending time with my 15 month old. I am therefore always thinking of new, exciting recipes that are easy and simple to make. Meals that I can have on the table in almost no time at all but that are still delicious and impressive.
Thanks to modern poultry raising, chicken has been put on everyone’s table at a reasonable price. It remains one of the most convenient meats that is most adaptable.

I had leftover roast chicken, which was perfect here as it saved me a lot of time not having to cook chicken prior to making this dish.
There are hundreds of different chicken a la king variations, all of which really come down to the same thing. Some just like the chicken roasted while others prefer it poached. This is simply a matter of personal taste.

ingredients | serves 4 | easy
50g butter
45ml flour
200ml chicken stock
175ml full fat cream
2 cups cooked chicken, diced
60g sliced red or yellow pepper
1/2 white onion, chopped
1t crushed garlic
3 thyme sprigs, leaves only
200g button mushrooms, sliced
1T olive oil
1T butter
1c frozen peas
small bunch fresh parsley, chopped
1/2C walnuts, roughly chopped (optional)

how to
Heat the olive oil and tablespoon of butter in a pot. Add the chopped onion and saute until glossy. Add the sliced mushrooms and sliced red/yellow pepper. Cook for about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for a further two minutes. Set aside.
Melt the 45g butter in the same pot, add the flour and stir to make a roux. Remove the pot from the heat and, using a whisk, add the chicken stock. Continue to whisk until you have a smooth sauce. Pour the cream into the pot, stir and cook for about ten minutes on low heat, stirring occasionally.
Tip the mushroom mixture and diced chicken into the pot, add the thyme leaves, stir and simmer for about ten minutes until thickened and heated through. Add the peas, stir and cook for two minutes.
Stir in the chopped parsley and top with chopped walnuts if using.

Serve with basmati rice or pasta.

butter & garlic roasted chicken

i love the combination of butter and garlic in this dish! quite honestly…i love the combination of butter and garlic in almost any dish!!
‘low and slow’ is my preferred method of cooking chicken, giving you an end result of perfectly roasted, tender & juicy meat, buttery garlic and delicious flavour!
no extra gravy is required as the cooking liquids and butter make a perfectly tasty & flavourful sauce.
the roasted halved head of garlic is delicious on its own with the meal or spread over fresh, thick, crusty bread!

ingredients | serves 6
1 whole chicken
4tbs olive oil
100g butter, melted
1/3c dry white wine
Juice of 1 lemon
1 lemon, sliced in half
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 whole head of garlic, sliced in half
8 thyme sprigs
4 rosemary sprigs
black pepper

preheat the oven to 160 degrees celsius.
mix the olive oil, butter, wine & lemon juice together. set aside.
place the head of garlic, thyme, rosemary & half of the sliced lemon into the cavity of the bird. tie the legs with cooking string.
pour the butter mixture under the skin and over the chicken. rub the minced garlic over the skin and generously season with salt and black pepper.
place the second lemon half next to the chicken in the casserole and roast in the oven for 2 hours.
rest the chicken for 5 minutes before slicing or portioning.

from my kitchen to yours, with love x

lamb knuckle stew

as promised, my lamb knuckle recipe.
this is another cut of meat that needs longer cooking time but the wait and little bit of effort is certainly worth it.
a rich, flavourful sauce with fall off the bone meat and soft marrow is the perfect meal for any chilly day, lunch or dinner.
i served the stew with a parsnip & potato mash, which was the perfect accompaniment to this dish.
the most effort lie in the chopping of the vegetables but this is another one pot wonder that is super easy and super tasty!
i used a moroccan spice that i bought from Woolworths and extra cumin for added flavour. any leftovers are great for a quick pasta the next day, topped with fresh parmesan shavings.
serve this with a glass of good quality red wine and you will love yourself for a very long time…

ingredients | serves 4
1.5kg lamb knuckle
olive oil
2tbs butter
flour for dusting
2tsp moroccan spice
1tsp ground cumin
1tsp oregano
1 large onion, chopped
5 garlic cloves, chopped
2 carrots, cut into blocks
4 celery sticks, sliced
3 small leeks, sliced
2tbs tomato paste
1 can chopped tomato
2tbs brown sugar
1/2c red wine
500ml lamb or beef stock
juice of 1/2 lemon
2 rosemary sprigs, leaves only
fresh parsley, for garnish
1tsp salt
black pepper
1/2tsp chilli flakes
2tsp corn flour (if necessary)

preheat the oven to 160 degrees C. dust the lamb knuckles with flour.
heat oil in a large oven proof skillet / pot / dutch oven. brown the meat on all sides and set aside. add a glugg of olive oil and butter to the same skillet and sauté the onion, moroccan spice, cumin & oregano until glossy. add the carrots, celery, leeks, garlic, tomato paste &. brown sugar and cook, while stirring, for three minutes.
deglaze the skillet with the red wine and cook on low heat for about ten minutes until the alcohol has evaporated.
add the stock, chopped tomato, rosemary, salt, pepper & lemon juice and bring to the boil. nestle the knuckles into the mixture and bring to a simmer.
cover with a tight fitting lid or tin foil and place into the preheated oven for two (2) hours until the meat is beautifully tender.
for a thicker sauce, mix the corn flour with two teaspoons water and place the skillet back onto the stove and bring to a gentle simmer. pour the slurry into the pot while stirring and cook until slightly thickened.
garnish with the fresh parsley and enjoy.

from my kitchen to yours, with love x