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Chicken Salad Rolls

29 Apr
Freshly made salad rolls with chicken, basil, carrots and cucumbers.

Freshly made salad rolls with chicken, basil, carrots and cucumbers.

Salad rolls are traditionally served cool and hence ideal for summer time. They are also light, refreshing and healthy.

  • rice paper, about 15 sheets
  • (rice) vermicelli noodles, boiled as instructed and then thoroughly rinsed with cold water, drain well
  • 1lb ground chicken*
  • 2 to 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • a few tbsps soy sauce
  • 1 tbsps honey
  • 2 tbsps oil
  • one small onion, finely chopped
  • one carrot, cut into match sticks
  • cucumber (same amount as carrots), cut into match sticks
  • juice of half a lime
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • a few fresh basil leaves

*Instead of chicken, try grilled shrimp or thinly sliced bbq beef or pork. For a vegetarian style salad roll, visit Frugal Feeding.

Rice paper.

Rice paper.

1. In a bowl, combine carrots, cucumber and lime juice. Add a sprinkle of sea salt. Allow mixture to marinate for 15 to 20 minutes.

Cucumbers and carrots with lime juice and sea salt.

Cucumbers and carrots with lime juice and sea salt.

2. In a wok on high heat, add in oil, garlic and onions. Cook until onions are soft, then add in chicken.

3. Use a wooden spoon to break up the ground chicken as much as possible. If chicken appears dry, add a splash of water.

4. When the chicken is almost done, season with honey, ground pepper and soy.

5. Choose a shallow dish with sides that is  large enough to fit the rice paper. (A pie plate works nicely.)

6. Fill dish halfway with hot water.  TIP: have a kettle of just boiled water ready on the side and once the water in the dish begins to cool, top up with more kettle water.

7. Gently place one rice paper sheet into water. The rice paper will soften in a few seconds. Once this is achieved, remove from the water and onto a plate or cutting board.

Rice paper with vermicelli noodles.

Rice paper with vermicelli noodles.

Rice paper with vermicelli, chicken, carrots and cucumbers.

Rice paper with vermicelli, chicken, basil, carrots and cucumbers.

8. Add a small handful of vermicelli noodles, a scoop of the ground chicken and a few of the marinated carrots and cucumber. Place the filling a little off center.

9. Tear a few pieces of basil leave and add to the filling.

Rolling the rice rolls.

Rolling the rice rolls.

10. Begin by rolling the portion of the rice paper nearest the filling. Roll about halfway and then fold the sides inward towards the center. Finish rolling. The rice paper is naturally sticky so it will seal itself.

11.  The first salad roll is finished. Repeat steps 7 to 9 to make the remaining rolls.

12. Chill salad rolls in the fridge before serving. Store in an airtight contain so that the rice paper does not dry out.

Assembling the salad rolls is very simple but a little time consuming. This task may be fun for kids.

Palachinke (Crepes)

26 Feb
A stack of palacinke.

A stack of palacinke.

Palachinke are Serbian style crepes. They can be served plain or as a dessert wtih fruit or jam filling, a sprinking of brown sugar and cinnamon, toasted crushed walnuts, nutella, etc… or they can be made into savory crepes by filling with vegetables, cheese or even meat.  Enjoy!

The following recipe is from Lillian.

  • 1/2 tablespoon canola oil (more later for the frying pan)
  • 1 egg
  • pinch of sea salt
  • pinch of white sugar (optional)
  • all purpose flour, as required
  • water, as required
Batter cooking in the pan. In the background, the consistency fo the batter is evident.

Batter cooking in a small pan. In the background, the consistency of the batter is evident.

1. In a large bowl, beat egg, add in salt, oil and sugar.

2. Add in lukewarm water to the desired level depending on how many palachinka you wish to make.

3. Using a wooden spoon, begin by gradually whisking in 2 tablespoons of flour, then add more flour until batter mixture has a smooth creamy consistency. As a test, the mixture should fall in a continuous flow from the spoon but not be too thin.

4. Allow the batter to rest for at least 30 minutes (or up to overnight) in the fridge. The consistency of the batter will become even smoother and creamier.

5. Heat a small non stick frying pan on medium heat.

6. Add 1/3 tsp canola oil. Spread oil around pan.

7. Pour enough batter to thinly coat the entire pan.  Swirl the pan around in order to spread the batter.

8. Once the palachinke comes loose from the bottom of the pan, flip over and cook for another 20 seconds or so.

9. Dish palachinke onto a plate and repeat steps 6 to 9 until batter is used up.

Thank you to Lillian for sharing her family recipe and photos!

A stack of palacinke.

A stack of palacinke.

Apples and Prosciutto

15 Jan
Apple wedges wrapped with  prosciutto.

Apple wedges wrapped with prosciutto.

Prosciutto wrapped around apple wedges is a simple easy healthy snack.  The salty and chewiness of the prosciutto slices is an ideal accompaniment to the crispy sweet apple.

  • one apple, cut into wedges
  • thinly sliced prosciutto

1. Cut the prosciutto into strips such that they are long and wide enough to wrap once around each apple wedge.

2. Wrap prosciutto strips around each apple wedge.

Enjoy!

Spinach Mushroom Pastries

23 Oct

Flaky tender pre-made pastries topped with homemade spinach and mushroom filling.

  • Tenderflake (pack of six)
  • ten cremini mushrooms, cleaned and sliced into thirds
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
  •  4 handfuls baby spinach, coarsely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsps unsalted butter
  • 2 tbsps extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 tbsps flour
  • sea salt and pepper

1. Bake the Tenderflake pastries for half the recommended time.

2. Once ready, remove from oven and let cool for a couple of minutes before adding the filling.

3. After the pastries have been filled, they will continue baking for the remaining time.

Six Tenderflake pastries, baked for half the recommended time.

4. For the spinach mushroom filling, add to a hot pan the butter, oil and garlic.

5. Once the garlic is brown, add in the mushrooms and turn down to medium heat.

6. Sprinkle in a little salt over the mushrooms and cook until the mushrooms begin to soften (about 3 minutes).

Cremini mushrooms with chopped garlic sauteing in olive oil and unsalted butters.

7. Add in the flour evenly over the mushrooms and cook the flour for a few seconds (this removes the raw taste of the flour), then pour in the milk.

Sauted mushrooms with flour and milk.

8. Once the milk begins to bubble, gradually add in the spinach.

9. Cook until the spinach has wilted and the mushrooms are completely soft.

10. Add salt and pepper to taste.

11. Remove from heat and let cool.

12. Once cooled add in the parmesan. Combine well.

Cremini mushrooms and baby spinach simmering in milk.

Once the mushrooms and spinach mixture is cool, add in the parmesan.

13. Drain as much liquid from the filling before placing onto the pastries.

14. Scope a generous amount of filling onto each pastry.

15. Place into the oven and bake for the remaining time as instructed on the package.

16. When finished, remove from oven and let cool for a few minutes before serving.

Tenderflake pastry topped with baby spinach and sliced cremini mushrooms.

*Alternatively, instead of using the spinach and mushroom filling as pastry toppings, toss the creamy mixture with some cooked  pasta and serve hot as a vegetarian friendly entree.

Spanakopita

4 Sep

Spinach and feta filled phyllo pastries (spanakopita).

Spanakopita are savoury spinach filled phyllo pastries and originates from Greek cuisine.

  • 10 phyllo sheets
  • 500 g baby spinach, chopped
  • 1/3 cup feta, crumbled
  • 1/4 cup plain bread crumbs
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 3 to 4 tbsps canola oil
  • sea salt and freshly ground pepper

1. To make the spinach filling, heat a saute pan on high heat.

2. Once the pan is hot, add in 1 tbsp of oil and the garlic. Cook until the garlic is a golden brown. This will only take a few seconds.

3. Add in the spinach. Turn down to medium heat. Stir occasionally.

4. Once the spinach has wilted, season with salt and pepper. Remove from heat and let the spinach cool for a minutes, then drain any liquids that has collected in the pan.

5. In a large mixing bowl, add in the spinach, egg, bread crumbs and feta. Mix well.

Cooked baby spinach and feta.

Spinach with feta and one egg.

Filling consisting of spinach, feta, bread crumbs and egg.

6. On a lined baking sheet, oil the bottom and sides.

7. Place two sheets of phyllo on the baking sheet.

8. About one inch from the edge, add a row of spinach filling.

Two phyllo sheets with a row of spinach filling, awaiting rolling.

9. Roll the phyllo tightly and tuck in the ends.

10. Repeat four more times.

Phyllo rolled up and filled with spinach and feta.*

Cut the phyllo rolls before baking.*

11. Brush  a little oil on top of each phyllo roll.

12. Before baking, cut the phyllo into desired sizes.

13. Bake in a preheated oven at 325ºC for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown.

14. Let spanakopita cool for a few minutes before serving.

Spanakopita immediately out of the oven.*

*The last phyllo row is filled with a ricotta and feta mixture as I ran out of spinach.

Baked Balsamic Portbello Mushrooms

7 Aug

Portobello mushrooms baked with balsamic vinegar.

  • 6 portbello mushrooms
  • 6 tbsps balsamic vinegar
  • 6 tbsps extra virgin olive oil
  • freshly ground pepper and sea salt to taste

In an oven safe dish, season each mushroom with one tablespoon of balsamic vinegar, one tablespoon extra virgin olive oil and pepper. Placing the mushrooms such that the stems are facing up, bake in a preheated oven at 350º for 15 minutes. Season with salt when finished.

Six portobello mushrooms in a baking dish.

Portobello mushrooms seasoned with balsamic vinegar, olive oil and freshly ground pepper.

Mushrooms finished baking.

Pan-Fried Zucchini Slices

24 Jul

A plate of pan fried zucchini slices.

  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • one large fresh zucchini, sliced into 1/4 inch thick coins. (Since the only ingredient is basically the zucchini, it is best to use a nice fresh farmer’s market zucchini.)
Heat a large pan on high heat. Add in the oil and spread it evenly around the bottom of the pan. Add in the zucchini slices. The oil will help the slices brown rather than burn.  Cook for about 2 to 3 minutes and turn down heat to a medium high if needed. Flip the zucchini slices over and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes.

Zucchini slices flipped over after cooking for 2 to 3 minutes.

Once the flesh of the zucchini begins to  soften and juices are released, they are done. Season with sea salt and freshly ground pepper if desired (I usually don’t though). I like cooking zucchini this way sometimes because the edge of the slices remain firm while the inside is soft, hot and juicy.