Sunday, February 26, 2017

Barbecued Cheesy Capsicums

Well now I have started I am going to keep going... yes these will be dishes that we have cooked over the last month or so but I need to do this and I am trying to catch up.  It's very interesting the life that we are all dealt.  Mine changes direction every now and then!  Different situations present themselves with different options and it takes ones focus to complete, fix or defeat.  It's just the journey of life.  I've decided, that while my life often seems full, I need to make the most out of every day from here on in.

Blogging is something that I do really enjoy doing.  It's like being a teacher and sharing your knowledge. We enjoy cooking and eating lots of variety in food - while many of you think that what we cook is way over the top we need you to understand it's all about the flavour not the recipe. Don't get me wrong one of our favourite family dishes is Eggs Beans and Chips, trust me there is pure excitement when that's on the weekly menu planner.  However the majority of our recipes are easy - however some have some interesting elements.  Our aim with this blog is just to share ideas, especially low fat healthy recipes (as we are human - not all are), with you all.  If any of you try the recipes and enjoy the food we do - well that's fantastic.  Let us know -  we would love to hear your thoughts.

Anyhow enough said.....

This dish was something out of left field for my kids.... I will be honest I think there were mixed feelings once I put the platter on the table. My husband and I thought they were great, son enjoyed it but daughter didn't enjoy the texture of the capsicum!! LOL she is 15 and at the moment anything we cooked has the potential of having issues!

The capsicums filled with a cheesy egg mix incorporating corn, cheese and bacon were a much lighter dinner than meat and 3 veg but it made such a refreshing change.  Once prepared, cooked on the barbecue, these served with some rocket and sundried tomatoes made a refreshing change.


Barbecued Cheesy Capsicums
(recipe adapted from Weight Watchers Make It Fresh)

Serves; 4
SmartPoints per serve: 10

100 grams short cut bacon, fat trimmed, chopped
4 medium red capsicum (about 200 grams each)
1/2 cup frozen corn kernels, thawed
1/3 cup low fat grated tasty cheese
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh chives, plus extra to garnish
8 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 teaspoon ground paprika
80 grams rocket leaves
100 grams sun dried tomatoes not in oil

Preheat a hooded barbecue over medium heat.  (If you don't have a hooded barbecue, you can bake capsicums in an oven preheated to 200 degrees Celsius or 180 degrees Celsius fan forced.)  

Lightly spray a small non-stick frying pan with oil and heat over medium-high heat.  Cook bacon, stirring, for 3-4 minutes or until browned and crisp.  Transfer to a large bowl, cool.

Cut each capsicum in half length ways.  Remove and discard core and seeds.  Place on a tray - cut a small sliver off the base of each capsicum if they don't sit flat.

Add corn, cheese and chives to the bacon and mix well.  Divide bacon mixture among capsicum halves.

Pour egg into capsicum halves.  Sprinkle with paprika.

Turn off burners under barbecue flat plate, leaving grill side on.  Place capsicum halves on flat plate and cook, with hood down, for 25 - 30 minutes or until egg has set. 

Remove from barbecue to a platter.  Sprinkle with extra chives and serve with rocket and sun dried tomatoes.







French Vanilla Cheesecake with Fresh Berries

I might get this blogging caper happening as a regular happening at some stage in 2017 but I cannot believe that 57 days into the New Year and we still haven't stopped being very busy. Oh well I guess this is just life and how fast it goes by. So much has happened since my last blog (in all honesty without looking I couldn't say when that was). Work has been busy, footy training has started and we have already been on a holiday with the Murray side of the family and a road trip to NSW to visit family and friends in a whirlwind 5 day trip that was a MUST to do. We went to visit my Aunty Maureen and Uncle Dave. In just 10 short weeks we have lost someone very special to me and my family to terminal cancer - Aunty Maureen passed late Thursday evening after such a dignified and amazing journey. Both Mam and I will be attending the service on Friday in Sydney.

I first met my Aunty Maureen, Uncle Dave and my 3 cousins, Steven, Michelle and Alison (the Jones) at the age of 18 months. Strangely the first time I met them was on a Greek Ocean Liner called the Elinis. We were all on our way to start our new lives in Australia - this was in 1973. The Jones were coming from Liverpool. It was then that I also met more family - Lars, Pip, Marica and Annette who were from Finland and Rolf, Anchristin, Ingela and Anna from Sweden. Who would have thought 44 years ago that we would have all still remained so close. Distance may be an issue at times but to me growing up with all of these important people infiltrating my life at some stage, and still today, my life has been truly blessed. While we are not related by blood we are still very much family.

Why am I telling you all of this? Because of my Aunty Maureen. Even while she was sick every time we spoke she told me how she follows our cooking adventures on Facebook all the time and that she was always in awe of our food. She often would encourage me to take up a career in food because she knows that I have the passion for it. It's actually because of her that I am making the effort to post this today.

Today we had close friends Leigh and Lauren over for lunch with their two gorgeous daughters, Harlow and Lenni. Funnily they seem more like family to me than just friends. Knowing that they both love cheesecake, I decided to make my signature French Vanilla Cheesecake with Fresh Berries (to be honest have no idea why I haven't posted about this cheesecake before?) Harlow helped me to decorate the cheesecake just before serving which was a very special moment for me today.

This French Vanilla Cheesecake is so easy to make, is no bake and the vanilla flavour is to die for. It's not an overly sweet cheesecake and I think that the fresh berries are a perfect compliment to the creamy vanilla center. 

For the base today I used Marie Biscuits however you could actually use any biscuit flavour of your choice.  Depending on your pan and the thickness you press the crumb you may have some left over and that is perfectly fine.  Don't make it too thick or it will be hard to cut.  

The recipe calls for it to set overnight but to be perfectly honest 6 hours is long enough.  If you wanted to make a smaller one in a flan tin just half the recipe.

Do yourself a flavour and give it a go.....


French Vanilla Cheesecake with Fresh Berries
(recipe adapted from Taste.com)

Serves: 8

500g packet plain sweet biscuits (such as Marie)
400g butter, melted
600ml thickened cream, whipped
6 teaspoons powdered gelatine
3 tablespoons boiling water
1000g cream cheese, softened
1 1/3 cup caster sugar
300ml thickened cream, extra
1 tablespoon icing sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste
Fresh berries of your choice, to decorate

Grease a 20 cm round (base) spring-form pan. Using a food processor, process biscuits until fine crumbs. Add butter. Process until combined. Press the biscuit mixture over base and side of prepared pan. Refrigerate for 10 minutes.

In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat cream until thickened. Set aside.

Meanwhile, sprinkle gelatine over boiling water in a heatproof jug. Whisk with a fork until gelatine has dissolved. Set aside to cool.

Meanwhile, using an electric mixer, beat cream cheese, sugar and vanilla until light and fluffy.

Gradually beat in gelatine mixture until combined. Fold in whipped cream. Pour mixture into prepared pan, leveling top with a spatula. Cover.

Refrigerate overnight or until set.

When ready to decorate, place cream and icing sugar in a large bowl. Beat with an electric mixer until thickened and forming peaks.

Remove the cheesecake from pan. Decorate top of cheesecake with whipped cream and fresh berries of your choice. Serve.


Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Sticky Chilli Barbecue Chicken Cutlets

It feels like a lifetime since we've chatted about our cooking adventures (well it's been many weeks - actually nearly 2 months) and I have missed sharing our experiences on my blog. So here goes my first blog post for 2017. By the way, Happy New Year. I hope that 2017 is kind to you in every way possible.

2016 ended up being the year of unorganised chaos and frantic lifestyle and 2017 has pretty much started off the same way.  But it is what it is and more importantly through all the experiences in the past two months, both good and bad, it has made memories and learnings for all in the House of Murray.  Whilst we have been busy rest assured that we didn't' stop cooking.

So after finally deciding I needed to get my blogging arse back into gear I hope you enjoy this little number we prepared early (well early this evening!)  I say we but in all honesty I made the coleslaw and chopped the potatoes - Noel is responsible for marinating and cooking the chicken.

Sticky Chilli Barbecue Chicken Cutlets, perfect for a mid summers' evening dinner - in fact it tasted that good it would be perfect anytime of the year.  Sticky with a hint of heat and smokiness enveloped the tender juicy chicken - melt in your mouth perfect.

The Chilli component is completely up to your discretion - you can use what ever chilli sauce you like - mild, medium or hot.  Please bear in mind however that using sweet chilli sauce would only add to the sweetness.  We used Maggi Chilli Sauce but you could use Sirracha Sauce, which contains less sugar than most chilli sauces.  Add less sauce for less heat obviously.

Being a "sticky" dish it's quite high in sugars - therefore it's not a meal that should be eaten a lot if you are trying to lose weight but honestly if you want to treat yourself for one meal - this recipe should definitely be on your "to try" list,.  Obviously I will be attempting to modify the recipe to make it more Weight Watcher friendly in the near future.  But in the moment - I really enjoyed dinner tonight.



Sticky Chilli Barbecue Chicken Cutlets
(recipe adapted from Taste.com)

Serves: 4

4 cups water
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
1/2 lemon, rind coarsely chopped, juiced
5 fresh thyme sprigs
1 tablespoon brown sugar
8 (about 1.4kg) chicken thigh cutlets
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

Barbecue sauce
1 1/2 cups tomato sauce
1/3 cup chilli sauce, to taste
1/2 red onion, coarsely chopped
2 large garlic cloves, peeled
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon molasses or honey
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
5 fresh thyme sprigs, leaves picked
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
1 teaspoon dry mustard powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin

Combine water, salt, peppercorns, lemon juice and rind, thyme and sugar in a glass or ceramic bowl. Add chicken and stir to combine. Cover. Place in fridge for at least 30 minutes or up to 3 hours to brine.

For the barbecue sauce, process all the ingredients until smooth. Bring to a simmer in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Reduce heat to low. Simmer, partially covered, stirring occasionally, for 15-20 minutes or until thickened. Season. Reserve one-third of the sauce.

Heat a barbecue grill on medium. Drain chicken from the brine and pat dry with paper towel. Rub with oil, then season. Cook the chicken, turning, for 10 minutes. Baste with marinade and continue cooking, basting generously with marinade and turning every 3 minutes, for 20 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through.

Serve chicken with reserved sauce and sides of your choice.