Sunday, 31 August 2014

Chicken, pasta and lime

We made this today. It was so yummy, took seconds to make and there's enough for seconds tomorrow. It's a bastardisation of a Weight Watchers recipe. Forgive the image I've stuck up here. It's what WW wants it to look like. And I didn't take a picture of my finished product. Probably because my husband had already started hoeing into it. 


200g wholemeal penne (I use the Barilla brand)
Olive oil
¼ cup lime juice (from the bottle is ok too) *
1 small chilli chopped (or say a good teaspoon of the Gourmet Garden tube stuff) *
1-2 garlic cloves, crushed *
1 tablespoon soy sauce *
1 teaspoon sesame oil plus extra for cooking chicken *
2 tablespoons sherry (more if you want to have a glass while you cook) *
500g chicken tenderloins
1 red capsicum, thinly sliced
5-6 big fat mushrooms, sliced
1 massive handful of baby spinach leaves
1 can of corn kernels, drained
Fresh mint leaves
Fresh coriander leaves
Fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves


Cook the pasta in a large saucepan of boiling salted water, following packet instructions or until just tender. Drain, rinse, chuck it back in the saucepan and drizzle over some olive oil.

Have a sip of sherry.

Put all the ingredients with a * in a bowl and whisk well. Set aside.

Have a sip of sherry.

Heat a fry pan on the stove, and when it's good and hot, splash on some sesame oil then add the chicken tenderloins in batches and cook for 3-4 minutes each side. Don't over-crowd the pan.

Refill your sherry glass and have another sip.

When the chicken is done, throw the capsicum and mushrooms into the same pan, cook them for 2-3 minutes, then add the spinach and corn.

Sip, sip sip.

Throw the pasta over the vegies. Shred the chicken with your hands (have a sip of sherry first) and throw that over the vegies. Mix well.

Set the table, open some wine, and pour an advance glass for yourself.

Spoon the pasta mixture into serving bowls. Scatter the mint, coriander and parsley over the top and spoon on a little of the sauce. Just a little. It's not about making the pasta swim, it's about exciting it.

Have some more wine. Try to remember to call your family to the table.

Saturday, 30 August 2014

Beef and barley

Winter is nearly done, Brisbane. Yay! I know there's many of you out there who relish the cooler months but for me, they can't pass quickly enough so I can get back to outdoor eating, swimming and ice-cold wine. But while we still have a few minutes of winter left, check out this super tasty yet super slimming slow cooker beauty from Weight Watchers. It freezes like a ripper. 


2 teaspoon canola oil
500g trimmed beef chuck steak, cut into 3cm pieces
1 medium brown onion, chopped
1 clove fresh garlic, crushed (more if you're up to it)
1 medium carrot, peeled, chopped
1 celery stick, trimmed, chopped
150g fresh mushrooms, halved
1 small parsnip, peeled, chopped
1½ cups beef stock (375ml)
2 tablespoon tomato paste
1½ tablespoon worcestershire sauce
65 g pearl barley (⅓ cup)
handful fresh flat-leaf parsley, (chopped)


Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook beef, in batches, for 2–3 minutes or until browned all over. Transfer to a plate.

Add onion, garlic, carrot and celery to pan. Cook, stirring, for 5 minutes or until onion softens. Add mushrooms and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes.

Add parsnip, stock, paste and Worcestershire. Bring to the boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, for 40 minutes.

Add barley and simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes or until beef is tender. Stir in parsley. Serve.

Steam a few greens as well, which will make you instantly feel thinner.

Seriously easy. Better if you cut any visible fat off your meat. But you're smart, you don't need me to tell you that.

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Chocolate brownies

Good Lord but this one's easy. Straight from the pages of Donna Hay's Modern Classics 2 (page18 for those of you who own it). Guaranteed to satisfy any chocolate hit you need. You can whip this beauty up in minutes to take to Saturday morning sport, afternoon tea with the girls, or wrap it in clear cellophane and some gorgeous ribbon for a present. They'll love you for it! 

Makes 16 slices


200g dark chocolate, chopped
250g butter, chopped
1¾ cups (310g) brown sugar
4 eggs
⅓ cup (35g) cocoa powder, sifted
1¼ cups (185g) plain (all-purpose) flour, sifted
¼ teaspoon baking powder


Preheat oven to 160°C (325ºF). Place the chocolate and butter in a saucepan over low heat and stir until smooth. Allow to cool slightly.

Place the sugar, eggs, cocoa, flour and baking powder in a bowl. Add the chocolate mixture and mix until combined. Pour into a 20cm-square slice tin lined with non-stick baking paper.

Bake for 50 minutes or until an inserted skewer withdraws clean. Allow to cool slightly in the tin before slicing.

Serve warm or cold, with or without double cream and strawberries.