Monthly Mystery Munchies #26: Herby Lime Chicken with Fresh Jasmine Rice

Flower power! (I feel like I should gesture the obligatory peace sign now.) Oh, what a month! Our May Monthly Mystery Munchies has been packed with flavour, challenges, and fun. And swearing. And lots of broken electronics plus a hurricane thrown in for good measure. Here’s how it went…

I chose the theme, edible flowers, without doing much research. Ann at Grubbs n Critters, ever-willing, ever-keen, and not one to back down from a challenge, any challenge, embraced it. See, I have a jasmine shrub in my garden which would make it easy, right? Not so much! I tried a variety of jasmine recipes, each interesting, having never cooked with fresh jasmine before, I enjoyed playing around. Cooking, after all, should be fun! I finally found one I lurved. Ready to go? Nope. My laptop crashed, along with the recipe, photos (which I had deleted from my phone upon upgrading a few days earlier), and everything was irretrievable. Everything. Frantic email to Ann, with an expletive four-letter word as the subject, explaining the story, and she kindly agreed to postpone. Not to worry, said The Husband, he’ll organise a spare work laptop. Awesomeness. Erm, yeah, it was great until that too decided to crash. Yet another frantic email, yet another postponement, and Ann, ever-so-sweet and understanding, was very relaxed about it.

The Husband managed to revive his work laptop, so, onwards and upwards. Yay for being betrothed to an IT geek! A couple of days later, a hurricane hit Cape Town, or, as it was colloquially called, the “Moerse Storm”. Fortunately we have a gas hob, so cooking in the storm, with the concern of the power dying at any moment, was not an issue for this recipe, as it’s all done in a pan on the hob.

Back to the jasmine. Ann said she struggled with this challenge too, which made me feel slightly better. Sorry, Ann! Having moved to the Netherlands a while back, and being surrounded by beautiful flowers (check out her Instagram page for beautiful photos of said scenery – https://www.instagram.com/grubbsncritters/) Ann was keen. As always. What an amazing blogging buddy I have! Speaking of uhhh-mazing, check out her mucking afazing pansy and calendula flowers custard cake. Have. You. Ever!!!

Before I kill this laptop again, here is my recipe. One-pot (pan) limey, herby chicken with jasmine rice, using actual jasmine flowers, all in one dish. Check out Ann’s take on this month’s challenge here.

Herby Lime Chicken with Fresh Jasmine Rice

  • Difficulty: Totally doable for anyone
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Supplies:

 

500g boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cubed
1 small onion, chopped
1 green chilli, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons lime juice; slice the other lime
3 bulbs of garlic, bruised and sliced
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1.5 cups good quality chicken stock
½ cup water
1 can drained black beans
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 cup rice
5 jasmine flowers
Fresh coriander/cilantro
2 tablespoons olive oil

Making It Happen:

In a large pan on medium, heat the olive oil and fry the cubed chicken, onion, chilli and garlic for 5 minutes, stirring, and turning the chicken pieces once. Season with salt and pepper.

Stir in the lime juice, oregano, stock and jasmine flowers.

Bring to a boil, add the rice and after 30 seconds, reduce heat to a simmer. Cover the pan and simmer for 20 minutes. Add the drained black beans and garnish with fresh coriander and lime wedges.

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/eatplayclove/

Monthly Mystery Munchies #25: Baked Orange-Pomegranate Chicken

This month’s Monthly Mystery Munchies theme was difficult. I felt like a thief… A really confused thief, but I had theeee best time playing around with recipes. Ann from Grubbs n Critters, who is my sweet dear friend and my Monthly Mystery Munchies partner-slash-best-blogging-friend, suggested we do a recipe swap. How much fun!? Too much (there is no such thing!). The idea is to take a recipe the other has made over the last 24 months, and make it our own. I am easily confused, I openly admit, and I suck at making decisions, especially when all the options are fantastic. There were two I wanted to make, but I didn’t have the heart to change the first one in any way, so I decided to make Ann’s baked chicken cutlets in orange-plum sauce. It’s settled.

Or is it? No, apparently not. I made the recipe and I was like, really? How am I supposed to change this? How can I improve it? No pressure! I decided to try orange-pomegranate instead of orange-plum, and I was pretty happy with the results. I swapped Worcestershire sauce with balsamic vinegar, and baked the chicken breasts in the fruit and honey while frying the veggies. I was definitely apprehensive about this dish, because I genuinely didn’t want to change anything, but this is exactly why we do it – to challenge ourselves, and each other, and sometimes my husband, who has to put up with my to-ing and fro-ing and “but do you think it will taste as good?”, or “I’m definitely sticking with this recipe” until 5 minutes later “maybe I should try another one instead?”, the next day “what if I try granadillas instead?”. Bless. He deserves a medal, but since he got several of Ann’s delicious meals over the course of three weeks, I think he’ll be fine.

Ann has undoubtedly produced something amazing. She always does, every month, without fail. Please check it out here. Ann, thank you so much for your wonderful suggestion this month. Although this was the hardest one to date, I enjoyed it immensely!

Baked Orange-Pomegranate Chicken

  • Difficulty: Dude, it's easy
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Supplies:

For the chicken marinade:

4 boneless, skinned chicken breasts
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
80g pomegranate seeds
¼ cup freshly squeezed orange juice
½ teaspoon orange zest
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon turmeric

For the veggies and rice:

1 onion, chopped
1 green, yellow, and red pepper, sliced
150g baby tomatoes, halved
3 tablespoons tomato puree
1 teaspoon sesame oil
2 tablespoons olive oil
Sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper
Fresh coriander to garnish
Brown and wild rice to serve

Making It Happen:

First check how long your rice will take to cook. Time it so that it’s cooked as soon as the chicken comes out of the oven (30 minutes).

Mix the balsamic vinegar, pomegranate seeds, orange juice, zest, honey and turmeric. Marinade the chicken for an hour or longer. Remove from the fridge half an hour before cooking, and let it come to room temperature. Cook in a preheated oven on 180°C (350°F) for 30 minutes. At this stage, cook your rice.

While the chicken is cooking, heat the olive oil in a pan and fry the onions until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the baby tomatoes, puree and sesame oil, season with salt and pepper, and fry for another 5 minutes. Add the peppers and fry for 5 minutes.

Add the cooked rice to the fried veggies, and serve with the baked chicken. Garnish with coriander and serve.

Monthly Mystery Munchies #20: Marinated Ostrich Fillets

ostrich-fillet-3-2Caaaaan you even believe it – Ann and I are four recipes away from our two year anniversary! I am as excited and enthusiastic about our monthly blog challenge as if it were recipe number one! Oh yeah! So you may have noticed that it’s the end of the year (where tf has time even gone?). It’s a time where everybody feels exhausted, over it, and soooo ready for a break. This month for our Monthly Mystery Munchies, my criteria was simple: marinade meat, either on the barbeque, or grilled in or on the oven/hob. You see, it’s braai (BBQ) season in South Africa. Actually, we braai in the rain too; we’re that committed. However, the sun is out, summer is here, and the fridge is stocked with beer (his) and white wine (mine) in anticipation of this quintessential South African pastime.

When I was tossing ideas around, The Husband happily agreed to oblige me because beer. He loves nothing more than standing around open flames, talking about whatever, having a beer (six pack) and enjoying the weather. Marinades are easy, delicious, and fun to play around with. The reason I chose ostrich fillet is because it’s something different. Although grossly expensive, it’s such a treat. It tastes like beef but it’s the healthier red meat alternative. It’s not fatty, on the outside or inside, and it’s just yuuuum.

Ann and I were on a roll. We have our Monthly Mystery Munchies specs planned until March. So much excitement. Ann always comes up with the best challenges, like her satay medley for this month. That’s right, not one, but two types of meat – chicken and beef. It’s winter in her neck of the hemisphere, so barbeques are no bueno, but she never shies away from an idea. Never ever. I adore her. Always game and enthusiastic! Ya know what? Head over to her site anyway… She has sheet loads of awesome recipes, jokes, anecdotes, you name it.

Here we go with marinaded ostrich fillets. Easy and delicious, the way it should be!

Marinated Ostrich Fillets

  • Difficulty: I mean, monkey easy
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Supplies:

500 grams ostrich fillets
125ml red wine
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, or 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

Making It Happen:

Mix all ingredients. Pour over ostrich fillets, cover and refrigerate for at least one hour.

Fire up your barbeque or griddle pan and remove the meat from the fridge 10 minutes before cooking it.

Cook for 2 minutes per side, and serve immediately. See? Monkey easy. 

Monthly Mystery Munchies #19: Chilli Hummus with Roast Veg

hummus-1058003_1920Hummus! This is what came to mind when Ann gave me the outline for this month’s Monthly Mystery Munchies challenge. A minimum of three veggies and one non-meat protein. Hummus is something I’m slightly obsessed with, particularly with added chillies. Side note: The first time I made hummus, I used three chillies. You know, because I’m badass and I love spicy food, thinking “oh, I can totally eat this, watch me!” I cried. I literally cried. I hadn’t finished blitzing the hummus in the food processor when I had a taste, and I took a mouthful of half a chilli, seeds and all. Mouth on fire, I washed my hands and then rubbed my eyes. Bad move. Really bad move! Apparently the chilli oils cling to the skin, so washing your hands ain’t gonna be enough. Just so that you know.

veg-hummus-3-2So what exactly is hummus? It’s easy and delicious, that’s what. It’s an Egyptian dip or spread made from chickpeas, tahini (ridiculously easy to make), garlic, olive oil, and lemon juice. Blitz everything together until smooth and serve with veggies. You can serve it with raw veggies, like carrots, celery, peppers, etc, or cook them, as I did. What I did in the case of cooked veg is I mixed the hummus with the veggies once they’d cooked. The leftovers I used as a dip for a barbecue. You can leave the chilli out, or add it for a zing, just don’t touch your eyes!

Please head over to Grubbs n Critters for Ann’s interpretation of this month’s theme. I love our Monthly Mystery Munchies challenge, and Ann is theeee best partner. She is always game, always keen and enthusiastic, and always inspires me!

Chilli Hummus

  • Difficulty: crazy easy
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Supplies:

2 x 400g cans chickpeas, drained and 4 tablespoons reserved
2 tablespoons tahini (see recipe below to make your own)
2 garlic cloves
1 bullet chilli
4 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon sea salt
Fresh basil or coriander for decorating (optional)

Making It Happen:

Using the metal blade attachment, blitz the garlic in the food processor.

Add the rest of the ingredients plus the 4 tablespoons of reserved chickpea liquid, to the food processor and blitz until smooth, about 3-5 minutes.

Optional: Garnish with fresh herbs and some toasted seeds.

It’s literally that easy.

For the roast veggies:

Lay 4 chopped red peppers, 400g broccoli florets, 300g halved zucchinis, and 300g green beans in a roasting dish. Drizzle olive oil over the veg, crack some black pepper and salt, mix, and roast on 200C (400F) for 20 minutes. Mix hummus with the roast veggies and serve.
Alternatively, serve hummus with raw veggies.

Tahini

  • Difficulty: crazy easy
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Supplies:

1 cup sunflower seeds
2 tablespoons olive oil

Making It Happen:

In a non-stick pan, toast the sunflower seeds on medium for 2 minutes. Toasting the seeds will make the tahini ‘nuttier’ like me.

Using the metal blade attachment, blitz the sunflower seeds for 3-ish minutes. Add the olive oil and blitz for another 2 minutes.

Monthly Mystery Munchies #17: Spinach and Caramelised Onion Dip

 

Spinach dip 4 1

This month’s Monthly Mystery Munchies challenge was so much fun! We’re going into summer here in the Southern Hemisphere, and as a nation, we’re obsessed with barbecues. Like, obsessed to the point that rain or shine, we make it happen! An obligatory part of said gatherings is snacks, and with snacks comes dips. Ann’s criteria for this dish is that it be a ‘signature dip’. She absolutely wowed me with her creamy chicken liver cheesy pâté cheesy dip. I MEAN! Killin’ it! With mine, I didn’t have to think too hard about it, although there are a few that I concoct, this one wins every time.

Spinach dip 3 2

You see, there is something so moreish about spinach, sweet, caramelised onions, and sour cream. It’s also easy to prepare and keeps well in the fridge for up to two days. In terms of what to serve it with, that’s fun too. My favourites: broccoli florets, carrot sticks, potato chips, mini cheesy sausage rolls, tortilla chips… basically anything you want! Please go to Grubbs n Critters and check out all of all recipes, and be prepared to leave drooling!

Spinach and Caramelised Onion Dip

  • Difficulty: easy
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Suppplies:

250g cooked spinach
3 onions, I used 2 x red and 1 x yellow
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon butter
250ml sour cream
Sea salt & freshly cracked black pepper

Making It Happen:

In a large frying pan, heat the olive oil on medium high. Once the oil is hot, add the onions and butter, stirring to spread the butter.

Spread the onions evenly across the pan. Fry for 5 minutes on medium high, stirring to prevent onions from sticking, then turn the heat down to medium low and saute for another 10 minutes.

Add the brown sugar, balsamic vinegar and salt and saute for 30 minutes.

Add the spinach to the onions and stir in the sour cream. Serve.

 

Words Crush Wednesday – John Steinbeck Edition

I’m a perfectionist. It irritates the crap out of me. My pantry cupboard bears witness to this: all of the canned food is in order, labels facing forward. The rice dare not be put on the beans shelf. The baking ingredients have their own shelf, don’t mix them with the grains. I mean obviously. My husband thinks it’s hilarious (can’t say I blame him) and he frequently turns the labels around, just to irritate me. It works. The truth is that perfection is a myth, it’s unrealistic and the pursuit of it takes away the pleasure of the moment. I’m learning to let it go, because if you’re constantly chasing something that doesn’t exist, you’ll never appreciate what you have. Having said that, my pantry cupboard is still immaculate.

John Steinbeck 1

Please check out the lovely, talented Rebirth of Lisa for more quotes.

Monthly Mystery Munchies #16: Herby, Fully Loaded Chicken Wraps with Zesty Sour Cream

Chicken wraps 1

This month I was a tad nervous to suggest this theme to the lovely Ann from Grubbs n Critters. Was it too easy? Not challenging enough? We’ve definitely been pushing our boundaries, happily so, but I felt like doing something that wasn’t time consuming, that I could whip up and serve immediately. My suggestion? Wraps with meat and a dressing/sauce. That was it. Ann gladly accepted, having bought some wraps a few days prior. It was meant to be. I love it when a cooking plan comes together!

Chicken wraps 2

Yes, I said it, “herby, fully loaded wraps”. I kind of threw everything in my fridge into this meal: chicken, butternut, mushrooms, red onion, garlic and then some more garlic, mustard, coriander, Italian parsley, basil, honey, lemon, sour cream… errthang went in. I’m a sucker for fresh herbs. I try to use them as often as possible. There’s just something really cool about cooking stuff and throwing it in a wrap. Love it. I have basil, parsley, limes and lemons in my garden. Picking it makes me feel like I’m on a farm, all organic and fresh. Then I hear hooters and dogs barking, and I remember that nope, I actually live in a city. Still, it’s wonderful to use what I have in the garden. I’d really like a bacon tree. That would be ideal. Strangely, I can’t find any.

Chicken wraps 3

I’m psyched to see what Ann’s come up with this month. No doubt, it’ll be amaze. She has some great stories on her blog, fabulous recipes, and hilarious jokes. Please hop over to her blog and check it all out.

A little less conversation, a little more food action… here we go… all wrapped up:

Chicken Wraps with Zesty Sour Cream

  • Servings: 8
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Supplies for the chicken:

4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1/4 cup olive oil
Zest of 1 lemon
Juice of 1 lemon (about 4 tablespoons)
1 handful flatleaf Italian parsley
1 handful basil leaves
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper

Supplies for the veggies:

500g butternut, cubed
250g mushrooms, sliced
200g baby spinach leaves
1 red onion, sliced
2 tablespoons olive oil

Supplies for the sour cream dressing:

250ml sour cream
2 tablespoons whole grain mustard
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon honey
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 handful coriander
1 tablespooon parmesan per wrap, for sprinkling
8 wraps

Making it happen:

Blitz all the chicken ingredients and pour over the chicken breasts. Bake at 180C for 30 – 35 minutes until cooked.

Meanwhile, steam or boil the butternut until cooked, about 6-10 minutes. Fry the mushrooms and onion on medium heat until cooked, about 5 minutes. Mix in the cooked butternut, and the baby spinach leaves and stir well until all the veg are full mixed.

Blitz the first seven our cream ingredients until fully mixed. Cook the wrap per instructions, and then spoon some veggie mixture into the centre of the wrap. Layer the chicken on top, scatter some reserved parsley and coriander, drizzle with sour cream and sprinkle 1 tablespoon of parmesan over everything. Fold the wrap and serve.  

 

 

Wordscrush Wednesday – Rumi Edition

This year has been about  evolving, growing, exploring, trying new things. It’s been fun. It’s been exciting. It’s been challenging. I used to adore hiking, but because of my worsening rheumatoid arthritis, my feet (and everything else) have been in too poor a state to tackle mountain trails. But, with a recent upswing (for which I largely credit yoga and healthy eating), last Sunday I went on my first hike in years. It was fucking incredible. I loved it. I ached for days, in fact, today is the first day I don’t want to cry every time I stand up!

We arrived at this waterfall (see below), and the beauty, the peace, overwhelmed me. It made me conscious that I’ve left my comfort zone this year, and as scary as it can sometimes be, it’s invigorating to push myself and see what I’m capable of.

Waterfall Rumi 1

For more awesome Wordscrush Wednesday quotes, please venture over to Rebirth of Lisa.

Monthly Mystery Munchies #15: Mini Tartlets with Rosemary-Infused Grapefruit and Lime Curd, and Homemade Custard

Grapfruit tarts 1

Figs, lime, and rosemary. These were the three ingredients Ann chose for this month’s Monthly Mystery Munchies. However, she was kind enough to give me some leeway when I couldn’t source fresh figs. I settled on grapefruit, because I’ve never cooked with it. The second instruction: it can’t be in a main course. This thrilled me, because I’ve been jonesing to get my bake on for a while, but I needed a good excuse. So, now that I have afore-mentioned excuse, why not make pastry? Cool, good idea. Why stop there, you ask? Indeed, I agree. Homemade custard. It’s too easy. I mean, I couldn’t believe how easy it was, and how absolutely delicious it tasted. See, I’m obsessed with custard. I blame my gran. She used to give me one (two) bowls every Sunday after lunch. “Don’t tell your mother”. Bless her heart.

Custard 2

This month, we have mini tartlets with grapefruit and lime curd, infused with rosemary, and drizzled with custard. I’m so ready for this! Ann and I are clearly on the same wavelength, as she made figs, rosemary and lime-drizzled scones with lime curd. How. Freaking. Delicious! Also, she very recently emigrated to Holland, and she’s still waiting for all her kitchen equipment to arrive. She’s only been there for a few weeks, during which time she, her husband (Silver Bullet) and their kids moved from their temp base at her in-laws into their own house. She’s got both kids into school. She’s furnishing the house from scratch, and she’s looking for a new job. No biggie, right? Pffft! I am incredibly impressed that, in the midst of all this chaos, she managed to do this blog post. Major kudos! Ann is tremendously dedicated to our monthly cooking challenge, come rain or shine, Thailand or Holland, work stress or… work stress. Please head over to Grubbs n Critters and check out her blog.

I’ve broken this recipe into two parts: grapefruit curd and pastry, and custard, for your convenience, in case you only want to print out one of them. Here ya go…

Rosemary-Infused Grapefruit and Lime Tartlets

For the curd:

1 cup strained fresh grapefruit juice (about 2 grapefruits)
Zest of ½ grapefruit
Juice of ½ lime (3 tablespoons)
Zest of ½ lime
1 cup white sugar
8 strained egg yolks
½ cup butter, cut into ½ inch cubes
2 sprigs rosemary, each about 3 inches long

Pour the strained grapefruit juice, lime juice, grapefruit and lime zest, strained egg yolks, and sugar into a pot.
On medium heat, simmer until thickened, about 5-7 minutes, stirring with a whisk or wooden spoon every minute.
Once thickened, remove from the heat and strain to remove any cooked egg pieces.
Mix in the butter, stirring until melted. Add the rosemary, and allow to set, about 1 hour.

For the pastry:

2 cups flour
2 ½ sticks salted COLD butter
½ cup ice cold water

Put two ice cubes into a cup and add tap water, enough to make 1/2 cup including ice cubes. Wait until the ice cubes have just melted.

Cut the butter into 1/2 inch pieces.
Sift the flour into your food processor fitted with blades. Add 4 tablespoons of butter and pulse until mixed, about 10 pulses. Add the rest of the butter, pulsing until the dough forms a rough ball. Do not over-pulse it, make sure that once it’s formed a rough ball, you stop pulsing.

On a floured work surface, roll the dough out and form into a rectangle. Place one piece of plastic wrap until the dough, and one piece over it, and, using a rolling pin, roll until flattened into a large rectangular piece.

Remove the plastic wrap and turn the dough over onto your floured counter. Fold the dough down by a third, then, at the bottom piece, up by a third. Then roll the dough over from the left-hand side, until it’s all rolled up. Form into a square, wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour.

To make the tartlets:

Remove the pastry from the fridge and, on a floured surface, roll it out with a rolling pin, quite thinly. Measure how much pastry you will need to fill each tartlet cup, covering the bottom and sides. Cut out enough pastry then press the pastry into the bottom, then work it up the sides.

Remove the rosemary from the curd and set aside. Fill two-thirds of the tartlet cup with grapefruit curd, then top with one piece of grapefruit, and wedge in some rosemary.

Bake at 180°C for 25 minutes until the pastry is golden brown. Heat your custard, either in a pot or microwave, and pour over the tartlet.

Homemade Vanilla Custard

250ml cream
250ml milk
1 ½ tablespoons cornflour
3 tablespoons castor sugar
3 egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a large bowl, mix the egg yolks, castor sugar and cornflour until well mixed. Set aside.

Pour the cream and milk into a pot and simmer gently over low heat until it’s hot but not boiling.
Very slowly, pour the hot milk and cream into the cornflour bowl, stirring with a whisk as you pour. Make sure you do this slooooowly.
Once it’s all mixed, add the vanilla to the custard mixture, and wipe the bottom of the pot.
Return the custard mixture to the pot and simmer gently, stirring with a wooden spoon until thickened.

(You can reheat the custard in a pot over low heat, or in the microwave.)