chicken & rice tray bake

This is my idea of a simple, delicious, no-fuss family meal that can be on the table in almost no time at all. It is, undoubtedly, a firm favourite in our home. Just an easy, deletable home-cooked meal that goes in the centre of the table so that everyone can tuck in at their leisure.

I like to use leg quarters for this recipe but really, any part of the chicken is just as delicious. The meat is tender and juicy with a lovely spice. The skin is gorgeously browned and crispy and the rice deliciously fluffy, flavourful and buttery.
Make sure to coat the chicken liberally with the spice rub so that the flavour soaks into the rice.

You can combine all of the ingredients in a roasting tray and put it straight into the oven although I like to brown the chicken first to ensure an extra crispy skin. I then cook the onion & garlic in a little oil and butter before adding the rice and mixing everything together.

Everything you need is in this dish but if you want to serve something alongside, opt for something minimalistic like a tomato & avocado salad.

ingredients | serves 4-6 | easy
for the spice rub
1t onion powder
1t garlic powder
1t paprika
1t salt
1/2t pepper
2T olive oil

Combine all the ingredients together except the oil. Mix and set aside.

For the tray bake
4T olive oil
80g butter
4-6 chicken leg quarters
1 white onion, chopped
3t crushed garlic
120g long grain or basmati rice
1t cumin seeds, crushed
1t dried thyme
1t dried oregano
1t fine salt
1t black pepper
400ml chicken stock
1C frozen peas
fresh cilantro / coriander leaves, garnish
fresh parsley, chopped, garnish

method
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C.
Drizzle the two tablespoons olive oil over the meat. Using your hands, rub the spice rub into the skin.
Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large pan and brown the chicken pieces on all sides. Set aside.
In the same pan, without wiping it clean, heat the remaining two tablespoons olive oil and about 30g of the butter. Sauté the onion & garlic until glossy and fragrant, while stirring. About three minutes.
Add the remaining butter, crushed cumin, oregano & thyme to the skillet / roasting tray and add the rice. Stir to melt the butter and coat the rice and then season with the salt & pepper.
Tip the mixture into a roasting tray or ovenproof dish if needed.
Arrange the chicken pieces on top of the rice and then pour the stock into the dish, around the meat.
Cover the roasting tray or dish with tin foil and bake for about 40 minutes.
Remove the tray from the oven and carefully remove the foil, taking care the steam doesn’t burn your hand.

Test the rice to see if it is cooked. If it is not perfectly tender, cover with foil again and bake for a further 10 minutes.
Now remove the chicken pieces and set aside.
Stir the frozen peas through the rice, replace the chicken pieces and place the dish back into the oven, uncovered, and bake for a further 15 minutes.

Remove the dish from the oven, garnish with the fresh cilantro and parsley and serve.






breakfast – coconut pancakes with banana & walnuts

Mornings are a very beautiful and special part of my day. It normally starts very early with a run in the gym and then I fall into the kitchen and start cooking breakfast. My favorite meal of the day.
I firmly believe that if your morning starts well it paves the mood for the rest of the day. And this includes a good meal. I make pancakes at least once a week not only because I love them but my toddler ABSOLUTELY loves it!
This recipe is a delicious alternative to my usual pancake recipe and yields beautiful light and fluffy little pancakes.
I added some sliced banana, toasted walnuts and maple syrup.
Another great addition is natural yogurt or creme fraiche, just to add to the moreish’ness of this delectable delight. And if you have time to spare, these will also love a drizzle of homemade salted caramel sauce.
To save you time in the morning, the batter can be made the night before, wrapped with clingfilm and stored in the fridge.

ingredients | makes about 12-15 | easy
1.5C plain flour
2T castor sugar
2t baking powder
1/2t baking soda
1/2t fine salt
1/4C desiccated coconut
1 can (400ml) coconut milk
2 eggs
1t vanilla paste or 1.5t vanilla essence
bananas, to serve
maple syrup, to serve
toasted chopped walnuts, to serve
creme fraiche / natural yogurt to serve
icing sugar, for dusting

how to
Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl. Using a handheld blender or whisk, beat until smooth.
Heat coconut oil or olive oil in a non-stick frying pan and drop about 1/4 cup batter into the pan for each pancake. Cook until you notice little bubbles on the surface, about 1 – 1 1/2 minutes. Turn and cook for a further 30 seconds to one minute until lightly browned.
Serve warm with your choice of topping.

Yours in food x


roast chicken tagliatelle – simple & delicious

This a one of my go-to meals when I am entertaining a few friends for a casual lunch or when I simply feel like being a lazy cook.
There is just not enough hours in a day and although I really love spending time in my kitchen i also really love spending time with my toddler. That said, I may not always have time to prepare an extravagant meal although I still want to eat well.
Delicious on its own or served with a salad, this is one dish you will return to again and again.
Although the oven does the work for you, the roasting of the chicken is what takes the most time here so if you are really pressed for time, why not pop in at your local grocer and buy a ready cooked chicken, which will save you plenty of time and unnecessary stress.

I used tagliatelle in this recipe. Other great pasta options are pappardelle & rigatoni.
Potato gnocchi is a delicious alternative to the pasta.

ingredients | serves 6-8 | easy
to roast the chicken
1 whole chicken
olive oil
salt
pepper

2T olive oil
2T butter
1/2 white onion, finely chopped
3t crushed garlic
400g tagliatelle pasta
200g shitake mushroom, sliced
100g button mushrooms, sliced
1/3C cream, optional
1/2t salt
black pepper
5 sprigs thyme, leaves only
two handfuls fresh parsley, torn
fresh parmesan, optional

method
Preheat the oven to 170 degrees C. Rub the chicken with olive oil and season well with salt & pepper.
Place the chicken into the oven and roast for 1 hour thirty minutes. Once cooked, set aside and reserve the cooking juices.

While the chicken is roasting, get on with the pasta.
Add the pasta to salted boiling water and cook according to package instructions.
Heat the olive oil & butter in a large skillet and saute the onion until glossy. Add the garlic and cook for one minute more. Add the sliced mushrooms to the skillet and cook for about eight minutes or until cooked, stirring occasionally. Add the thyme leaves and cream and stir through. Season with salt & pepper.

Drain the pasta and tip it into the mushroom mixture. Toss to coat. Using your hands, tear the chicken into the pasta.
Pour the cooking juices over the pasta & chicken mixture and toss everything together.
Garnish with the parsley and parmesan cheese, if using.

From my kitchen to yours, with love x




vegetable fried rice

I have very fond memories of delicious rice dishes in both Thailand and Bali during my travels. Unlike my mother, I love rice and can eat it with almost anything.
This is a delicious, healthy meal and a great way of using any leftover rice and extra vegetables you may have in your fridge. Perfect fried rice is best when using cold, leftover long grain rice. A very hot wok is ideal but a large skillet will also do.

To simplify things and ensure even cooking, I like to grate some of the vegetables that would normally take longer to cook.
Great on its own or served as a side dish, you will most definitely return for seconds.

ingredients | serves 4-6 | easy
2C long grain rice, preferably a day old
2T olive oil
2T butter
1/2 white onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1 large carrot, grated
1 large zucchini, grated
1c broccoli, florets
1c mushrooms, sliced
1/2c frozen peas
2t grated ginger
1/4c soy sauce
1T sesame oil
2t fish sauce
1/2t red chili flakes, optional
3 eggs, beaten
1/2c spring onion, sliced diagonally
bunch fresh coriander/cilantro, roughly chopped
salt to taste
black pepper
sesame seeds, garnish (optional)

how to
Heat olive oil & butter in a large wok or skillet. Fry the onion until glossy. Add the garlic and cook for one minute.
Add the carrot, zucchini, broccoli & mushrooms and cook for three minutes, tossing occasionally. Add the ginger & soya sauce, toss and cook one minute.
Add the rice, stir and toss as you cook for a further three minutes, then adding the peas, fish stock, sesame oil and chili flakes if using. Toss to coat and cook for three minutes.
Make a well in the center and add the eggs. Leave the eggs to cook for about a minute and then gently start folding the vegetable mixture through the eggs.
Season with salt & pepper and keep folding while the eggs cook.
Once the eggs are cooked, remove the wok / skillet from the heat.

Stir the cilantro through the mixture and garnish with the sliced spring onion & sesame seeds.

Serve warm.









Camembert, tomato & pea tagliatelle

Simple and delicious, this creamy pasta is on the table in twenty minutes!
Pasta is definitely a staple in my home and although we love meat, occasionally a meat-free meal is simply necessary.
Tagliatelle is the most common form of flat ribbon noodle and the creamy sauce sticks to it beautifully.
Comfort food at its best!
Serve with a generous shaving of Parmesan and a green salad.
To cook pasta, allow 80-100g raw pasta per person. For every 100g pasta, use 1 liter of boiling water and a teaspoon of salt in a large saucepan and cook rapidly.
To prevent the pasta from sticking together, add a teaspoon of cooking oil to the water.

ingredients | serves 4 | easy
300g uncooked tagliatelle, cooked according to package instruction
1/2 small white onion, finely chopped
2t crushed garlic
1 round camembert cheese, cut into blocks
3 large, ripe tomatoes, roughly chopped
100g sun-dried tomatoes, drained and roughly chopped
1c frozen peas (i used petit pois)
5 thyme stalks, leaves only
1/2c dry white wine
1/2c full fat cream
small bunch fresh parsley, chopped
parmesan
1/2t fine salt
good grind of black pepper
pinch red pepper flakes, optional
2T olive oil
1T butter

In a large skillet, heat the olive oil & butter and cook the onions until translucent. About three minutes. Add the garlic and cook for one more minute. Pour the wine into the skillet and cook until reduced. About three minutes.
Add the thyme, tomatoes & sun-dried tomatoes, stir to coat and cook for about five minutes.
Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to package instructions, reserving a bit of the pasta water after cooking.
Add the camembert and cook to melt, while stirring. Pour the cream into the skillet and season with salt, pepper & red pepper flakes, if using.
Once the cheese has melted into the ingredients, add the peas and cook for two more minutes.
Add the drained pasta and about two tablespoons of the reserved pasta water. Mix. Stir the chopped parsley through the pasta.

Garnish with parmesan and serve warm.