Baked Chicken with Cherry Tomatoes, Lemon, Olives and Capers

Baked Chicken with Cherry Tomatoes, Lemon, Olives and Capers

I’ve talked about the lovely ladies from The Monday Morning Cooking Club before when I shared their delicious tomato and eggplant bake (AKA Bubba’s Eggplant) from their first cookbook here and their delicious recipe for their Shallot Ginger and Sesame crusted salmon here.   I was so excited to get my hands on a copy of their recently published sequel called ‘The Feast Goes On’.  This beautiful book has plenty more stunning recipes inside that I cannot wait to try.

I love that each recipe has been handpicked from hundreds submitted – so you know that if it makes it into the cookbook it is going to be worth making!  Not all the recipes are clean, but there are several that are and I am looking forward to getting to know this book as much as I enjoyed the first.  You can check out the Monday Morning Cooking Club’s webpage here and follow them on Facebook here.

This recipe was the first one I made from the new book and it was a real crowd pleaser.  I have altered it to include tomatoes and lemon, which gives the dish a much different flavour, but I loved the changes and I hope you do too!  (You can double it quite easily if you need to feed a larger group or if (like me) you want to freeze some for another night when you don’t have the time or inclination to cook)

Baked Chicken with Cherry Tomatoes, Lemon, Olives and Capers

(adapted from The Feast Goes On, Monday Morning Cooking Club)

What you will need:

  • 1 chicken jointed (I ask my butcher to cut a whole chicken into 8 pieces for me)
  • 50 grams (1/4 cup) salted baby capers (well rinsed and drained)
  • 75 grams (½ cup) pitted Kalamata olives, halved
  • 1 lemon sliced into rounds about ½ cm/¼ inch
  • 350 grams (1 punnet) cherry tomatoes
  • 2 unpeeled garlic cloves
  • 250 mls (1 cup) white wine (or chicken stock if you prefer)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 sprigs thyme (or lemon thyme and/or fresh oregano work well too)
  • Freshly ground black pepper

How to bring it together:

Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celcius (400 Fahrenheit).

Line a large roasting dish with some baking paper.  Lay out the chicken and scatter the capers, olives, garlic and tomatoes on top.  Pour the wine (or stock) and olive oil over the chicken, lay the lemon wedges across the top and scatter the herbs.  Season generously with pepper.

Roast for 45 minutes – 1 hour or until the chicken is golden and the juices run clear when pierced with a knife. If the chicken is not browned enough, turn the oven to the hottest setting for the last 5 minutes.

Enjoy

XX

The Shrinking Hubby’s Gluten-free Chewy Choc-Chip Cookies

The Shrinking Hubby’s Gluten-free Chewy Choc-Chip Cookies

Well I put the question to a vote on my facebook page and it was a resounding plea for the recipe for my gluten-free, chewy choc-chip cookies  – so here you go!

Enjoy XX

makes about 15-18 cookies

INGREDIENTS

3 cups (350g) almond meal

50g coconut oil

1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 organic free-range eggs

. cup (85g) medjool dates, pitted

. cup best quality dark choc chips

(or chopped organic dark chocolate)

PREPARATION

Pre heat your oven to 180ÅãC/350ÅãF.

REGULAR METHOD

Blitz all ingredients except for choc chips in a food processor until well combined.

Using a wooden spoon stir the choc chips through the mixture until spread evenly.

THERMOMIX METHOD

Place the almond meal, coconut oil, bicarb, vanilla, eggs and dates into the mixing bowl and blitz speed 7-10 for 40 seconds or until well blended. Add the choc chips and mix reverse, speed 5 for about 15 seconds until well combined.

TO ASSEMBLE

Using wet hands, roll 1 tablespoon of the mixture into balls, place on lined baking tray and flatten with your palm. Ensure they are spread out as they will get bigger while cooking. Bake for about 10 minutes or until golden brown, allow to cool (if they last that long!) and enjoy.

Note

To make these cookies refined-sugar free you can use a good quality sugar free chocolate. I like the brand that is sweetened with stevia.

You can use 50g (2oz) butter instead of the coconut oil if you don’t need to keep this dairy free.

GF RSF DF TH

 

The Shrinking Hubby’s Almond Meal Pancakes (And How To Find A Little More Time In Your Day)

The Shrinking Hubby’s Almond Meal Pancakes (And How To Find A Little More Time In Your Day)

We all know that being a Mum is not easy !  I put a few feelers out there amongst some of the mums I know and on my Facebook page to ask what they find hardest about motherhood, and resoundingly the biggest challenge for most busy mums is definitely lack of time.  At whatever stage you are with your parenting – be it babies and toddlers or school-aged kids, life seems to get busier and busier as time goes on.  What often happens unfortunately, is that we tend to put ourselves last in the pecking order.  In honour of Mothers Day in Australia next weekend and for all the busy mums out there, I thought I would share some of my favourite tips for making some more time in your day.  I hope that you manage to spend some of this extra time on yourselves!  I am also sharing a new yummy pancake recipe so that your loved ones (or even you!) can spoil yourself with a delicious, healthy and comforting breakfast next Sunday.  They are Thermomix friendly but you could use a food processor or blender just as easily.  Don’t you think they would be yummy to have in bed with a cup of tea and the Sunday papers next weekend?  Hint .. hint ..!

Here are just some of my suggestions to increase some time for yourself during your busy day:

  1. Prioritise! Decide what really matters to you and organise yourself so that you can make time to fit those things in.
  2. Get up an hour earlier and factor some time for yourself– walk, run or even meditate.  If you find it hard to get motivated for morning exercise, make sure you have a plan so you know exactly what to do when your alarm goes off.  Set your clothes out the night before, fill up your drink bottle and put it next to your keys.  Download some music to make your walk/run more interesting.  Make a commitment by writing it in your diary or organise to meet up with a friend so you will be more motivated to go.
  3. Go to bed an hour earlier.  The best time to get your important sleep is before midnight and everything is so much better when you are well rested (plus if you have an early night it makes it easier to wake up the next morning!)
  4. Don’t be afraid to ask those close to you for help if you are struggling!  If you need a little time-out, your partner could watch the kids for so you can go for a walk or have a relaxing bath.
  5. Be clever in the kitchen – pack school lunches the night before, when you buy fruit chop it and pack it up straight away so it’s easy to grab in a hurry, freeze sandwiches in bulk, make more at dinner and freeze half/ or have for lunch the next day.  Do big cook ups on the weekend so you don’t have to worry about it during the week.  Cook batches of chicken, hard boiled eggs, quinoa, rice etc and keep on hand in the fridge so you can quickly pull together healthy meals.  There are some great gadgets out there that are designed to make your life easier in the kitchen.  The Thermomix (or thermo-type appliances) or a slow cooker can really save time.  Try my Slow Cooker Lamb Shanks, my Chicken and Eggplant Bake or Greek Inspired Shepherds Pie which are all easy to make double of and all freeze beautifully.

At the end of the day we should be grateful that our lives are so full – those little people might be hard work – but they are more precious than anything!  Happy Mothers Day!

The Shrinking Hubby’s Almond Meal Pancakes

– Serves 4 –

What you will need:

  • 1 1/2 cups Almond Meal
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons aluminium free baking powder
  • 2 tablespoons chia seeds
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 organic free range eggs
  • 1 1/4 cup water
  • Organic butter or coconut oil for cooking
  • Fruit, yoghurt and/or organic maple syrup or honey to serve

How to pull it together:

Put all the ingredients in your Thermomix or food processor and blitz for about 30 seconds speed 9/10 until well blended and of a consistency you are happy with.  You may wish to experiment with the amount of water you use depending on how thick you like your batter.

Heat a large frying pan, add a dollop of butter (or coconut oil) and let it melt.  Spoon out the batter (I did 3 small pancakes at a time).  Watch carefully and when nicely browned, flip and cook the other side until ready.

Serve as you like – Some suggestions are:  fruit, organic maple syrup, raw honey, almond butter, a sprinkle of cinnamon or a dollop of greek yoghurt.

Enjoy X

The Shrinking Hubby’s Hearty Vegetable Soup

The Shrinking Hubby’s Hearty Vegetable Soup

This has got to be one of the healthiest recipes I have ever created!  It is SO full of exceptional nutrients and as a bonus wonderful flavours.  I love making this at least once a week.

I have been making this in my Thermomix – however I have included instructions if you don’t have a Thermomix below.

The vegetables I’ve listed below are the ones I usually use however feel free to use whatever you have on hand or prefer to use.  Think broccoli, silverbeet, cabbage.  The asparagus is a fantastic way to help out with bloating due to water retention.  I love including asparagus in this soup!

The Shrinking Hubby’s Hearty Vegetable Soup

What you will need:

  • A knob of ginger (as big as you dare – it can be quite spicy!)
  • A knob of fresh Turmeric
  • A red chilli (if you like it hot)
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic (or 1-2 teaspoons good quality minced garlic)
  • 1 brown onion
  • 1 Zucchini
  • 1 bunch asparagus
  • About a cup of diced pumpkin (or sweet potato)
  • 1 carrot
  • 1-2 tomatoes
  • 1/4 head of cauliflower
  • 1-2 Tablespooons Thermomix Vegetable Stock or good quality vegetable (or chicken) stock
  • 1 tablespoon butter (or ghee)
  • Olive Oil (or coconut oil)
  • Salt and pepper
  • Cayenne pepper for serving

How to pull it together:

If using a Thermomix:

Place garlic, turmeric, ginger and chilli into the mixing bowl and mix speed 7 for about 5 seconds or until evenly chopped.  Scrape down bowl.  Peel and quarter a brown onion and add to the mixture.  Chop speed 5 for 3 seconds.  Scrape down bowl.

Add 1 tablespoon good quality organic butter and 1 tablespoon olive oil.  (you can substitute ghee or coconut oil here too).  Cook 100 degrees, speed 2-3 for 3 minutes.

Add the rest of the vegetables.  Chop speed 7 for 5 seconds or until roughly evenly chopped.

Add about 300 grams of water (or enough to cover the vegetables) and the vegetable stock (or add about 300 grams pre-cooked vegetable or chicken or beef stock).

Cook for 20 minutes, 100 degrees, speed 1.  When cooked, blitz speed 10 for 1 minute.

Season with sea salt and cracked pepper and serve with a sprinkling of Cayenne Pepper.

Without a Thermomix

Blitz garlic, turmeric, ginger, chilli and onion in a food processor (or finely chop if you don’t have a processor).  Heat a large stock pot and add butter and olive oil (or ghee, or coconut oil if you prefer).  Add the garlic mixture to the pan, season with some sea salt (to stop it burning) and stir for a few minutes until softened and fragrant.

Add the chopped vegetables (whatever you are using) and toss until well combined. ( you could even blitz in your food processor if you wish before adding to the pan)

Cover with water or stock, bring to a boil and simmer 30- 40 minutes until well cooked.

Using either a hand held blender or your food processor, blend the soup until well pureed.

Season with sea salt and cracked pepper and serve with a sprinkling of Cayenne Pepper.

 

Enjoy!

Lamb, Roast Vegetable and Pesto Salad

Lamb, Roast Vegetable and Pesto Salad

Lamb, Roast Vegetable and Pesto Salad

serves 4 (as a main)

This is such a tasty meal!  If you don’t want to use meat it is delicious without the lamb as a vegetarian main meal or zesty side dish.

What you will need:

  • 500 grams (1.5 pounds) diced lamb marinated for as long as possible (ideally overnight but 1-2 hours is fine) in the marinade listed below
  • 1 eggplant (aubergine) diced
  • 1 zucchini (courgette) diced
  • 1 punnet (150 grams or 5 ounces) button mushrooms halved
  • ¼ jap pumpkin (about 1 ½ cups) diced
  • Olive oil for roasting
  • Extra freshly squeezed lemon juice for serving (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons pesto (see recipe below or you can find it on my website here.)  It’s worth making your own – this has a delicious kick of lemon that goes beautifully with this salad.
  • Baby spinach leaves
  • Feta Cheese (optional)

For the Lamb Marinade

Shake or whisk the following ingredients together:

  • Juice of a lemon
  • 1 garlic clove (or 1 teaspoon good quality minced garlic)
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • Sea salt and cracked pepper to taste

How to pull it together:

Toss the eggplant, zucchini, pumpkin and mushrooms in a little olive oil, sea salt and cracked pepper and roast in the oven for about 40 minutes or until well cooked to your liking.

When the veggies have about 10 minutes to go (i.e. after about 30 minutes) start cooking the lamb until browned.  (you can either pan-fry or barbeque the lamb).  It is best to do this in batches so it doesn’t stew in the marinade.  When ready, toss with the roasted veggies and add a couple of tablespoons pesto and stir through.

Serve on a bed of baby spinach leaves and top with some chopped feta cheese (if using)

If you like you can add an extra squeeze of lemon before serving.

The Shrinking Hubby’s Pesto

  • 1/4 cup pine nuts dry roasted (you can do this in the oven on some baking paper or in a non-oiled pan on the stove – keep an eye on them – they can burn quickly!)
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh basil leaves
  • 2 small garlic cloves (or 2 teaspoons good quality organic minced garlic)
  • 3/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • juice of 1/2 a lemon
  • sea salt and freshly cracked pepper to taste

How to pull it together:

Place the pine nuts, basil, lemon juice, garlic, Parmesan, salt and pepper in the bowl of a food processor and process until finely chopped.  Gradually add the olive oil while the motor is running in a thin stream until well combined.

If using a Thermomix:

Put an approximately  65 gram (2 ounce) chunk of Parmesan into the mixing bowl and blitz, speed 10 for about 8 seconds or until evenly grated.

Add the basil, pine nuts, garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper and mix speed 6 for about 3 seconds or until it reaches your preferred consistency.

You will end up with a deliciously chunky pesto.

Enjoy!

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