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/

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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
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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.  

 

 

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.)

 

Crazy About… Warm Butternut and Avo Salad with Herb Dressing

Avo butternut salad 1 2

It’s too cold for mojitos (cries into pillow), so I decided to use my mint and lime in a herby, minty salad dressing instead. I love it when plan B works! This meal is packed with superfoods, and the mint and coriander add a lovely, fresh taste to the roasted veggies.

Avo butternut salad 3

This is a warm salad, perfect for cold, wet, wintry days. Just because summer’s gone, doesn’t mean you have to give up salad! Just serve it warm, and you’ve got an easy, delicious, healthy meal!

Warm Butternut and Avo Salad with Herb Dressing

  • Difficulty: easy
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Supplies:

800g butternut, peeled and cubed
250g spinach, cooked
2 large ripe avos
1 red pepper & 1 yellow pepper
Zoodles (zucchini noodles)
1 disc feta
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tbablespoons minced garlic

Dressing:

1 large handful mint
1 large handful coriander
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
Sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper

Making It Happen:

Preheat your oven to 200°C. Par-cook the butternut, either by steaming or boiling, until just soft. Place the butternut in an oven roasting dish, add sliced peppers, drizzle with olive oil and roast for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, boil or steam the spinach, set aside.

Dressing:

Blitz all ingredients. That’s it.

Cook the zoodles for 1 minute in the microwave.

In a large salad dish, layer spinach at the bottom. Top with cooked butternut, peppers and zoodles. Place avo on top, then feta, then drizzle with dressing. Serve warm.

Monthly Mystery Munchies #10: Party with Pesto

Pea salad 1

This month, Ann chose a ‘party with pesto’ theme. Don’t mind if I do! I’m ‘sessing over pesto. My mother-in-law decided that we needed to plant basil and kindly gave me a few plants. It’s growing like wildfire, so when Ann chose pesto, I was excited to use my homegrown basil (it’s the little things!). There is something so cool about going in my garden and picking fresh ingredients! Love it!

Hmm.. the problem was that I couldn’t choose between two dishes I’d tried – spicy pesto chicken balls, and olive pesto pea salad, so I decided to do both. You see, here in South Africa we’re highly enthusiastic about braais (barbecues), and the cold pea salad is ideal as a side dish on a blistering hot day. The next recipe, chicken balls with spicy pesto, can be served warm, accompanied by a veggie dish. I wanted to do two different pestos, and in our home, we do love our olives! I really enjoy cooking with chicken mince, which can be quite bland but the pesto perks it up beautifully! Both of these recipes are incredibly easy, require minimal effort and oh-so-healthy. That’s a hard ‘yes’ from me!

You can find more pesto recipes at Grubbs n Critters, and I strongly encourage you to head on over as Ann is a phenomenal cook and uses the most interesting and creative ingredients. This month she made tortilla wraps with wild rocket pesto. YUM! I love that she used turkey and tortillas and perfectly demonstrated the versatility of pesto beyond the usual pasta dishes. Please check it out, but first, we cook:

Pea Salad with Olive Basil Pesto

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy, um, peasy
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Supplies:

Pea salad 2250g cooked peas, cooled or tinned peas
1 red onion, finely chopped
½ cup basil leaves
2 cloves garlic, crushed
100g Kalamata olives (drained weight), pitted
½ tsp dried parsley
½ cup olive oil + 1 tablespoon for onion
1½ disks feta cheese
Sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper

Making it happen:

Pea salad 51. Steam the peas and set aside to cool, or you can use tinned peas, drained. Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a pan on medium heat and fry the chopped onion for 5 minutes, until soft.

 

 

Pea salad 32. Add the basil, garlic, olives, parsley and olive oil in your food processor. Blitz until thoroughly mixed and season with salt and pepper.

 

 

Pea salad 73. Pour the peas into a bowl, add the onion and 1 feta disk and mix. Pour in the pesto and stir throughly, making sure that it’s evenly spread. Crumble the remaining half feta disk over the top and refrigerate until you’re ready to serve. This is suitable to make the day before.  

 

Chicken Mince Balls with Spicy Pesto

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: easy
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Supplies:

Chicken balls 2 15 basil leaves
2 sprigs lemon thyme
1 bunch Italian parsley
2 garlic cloves
1 teaspoon hot sauce
2 teaspoons lime juice
500g chicken mince

 

Making it happen:

Chicken balls 41. In a blender, blitz all ingredients except the chicken, until well blended. Add the chicken and thoroughly blend.

 

 

 

Chicken balls 52. Form the chicken mince into balls, approximately 1 large tablespoon’s worth each. Cover and refrigerate for one hour or more.

 

 

Chicken balls 1 23. Preheat your oven to 180°C. Spray a baking tray with non-stick spray and place the chicken balls in it. Bake for 20 minutes until cooked.

Monthly Mystery Munchies: Lamb Saag and Aloo Curry

It’s the third installment of Monthly Mystery Munchies with myself and Ann at Grubbs n Critters. This month I chose lemons/limes, thyme and coriander as our ingredients. I really enjoyed playing around with these ingredients and pairing them with others. The recipe that won is lamb, saag (spinach) and aloo (potato) curry. I never say ‘no’ to curry and lamb is the ideal meat for this. Naturally I added potatoes because in my mind, curry without potatoes is like… summer without blue skies, mojitos without mint (I just recoiled), Bono without his sunglasses – unexpected, disappointing and unnatural.

Ann made spiced chicken with saffron, thyme and lemon gravy. Okay, lemon gravy? I’m all in. Saffron? What a treat! Check it out, it’s droolicious. She added other interesting and complimentary ingredients and you can see this is a winner.

I too added a plethora of other ingredients – veggies, spices and herbs, and finally got the balance right. What one needs to keep in mind when using so many ingredients is that balance is key – especially with spices. They shouldn’t be overpowering because that can ruin the dish in one easy step. They should all work well together to create the ideal blend. From fragrant coriander (cilantro) to succulent lamb to the bite of the chillies, this comes together beautifully! This meal contains many superfoods and superspices (yep, that’s a thing), so not only is it delicious, tasty and fragrant but ridiculously healthy too! Here we go:

Monthly Mystery Munchies: Lamb Saag and Aloo Curry

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients:

  • 1kg lamb knuckles, cut into bite-sized chunks
  • Olive oil
  • 4 leeks, chopped
  • 2 green chillies, sliced (I always keep the seeds in)
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed and sliced
  • 1 inch piece ginger, grated
  • 5 cardamom pods, crushed and chopped
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • 1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
  • 500g baby tomatoes, halved (or 1 tin chopped tomatoes)
  • 250g spinach, chopped
  • 1kg potatoes, halved
  • Vegetable stock
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • Fresh coriander (cilantro) for garnish
  • Salt to taste

Directions:

Lamb Saag and Aloo 3 21. In a large pan, heat up the olive oil and fry the lamb on medium low until browned. You might have to do this in batches. Fry for ± 5 minutes, turning halfway through. Set aside. Fry the leeks in olive oil for 5 minutes.
Add chillies, garlic, ginger and cardamom and fry for a further 2 minutes.
Add the tomatoes, spinach, thyme and remaining spices and simmer for 5 minutes.

 

 

Lamb Saag and Aloo 5 22. Add the lamb and potatoes, pour in 250ml vegetable stock and bring to a boil with the lid on. Uncover and simmer for 1 hour, pouring in the lime juice during the last 10 minutes.

 

 

 

 

Lamb Saag and Aloo 7 23. If you have the time, let the curry stand for a few hours. Garnish with coriander, however much you like (we like a lot!). Curry is always better when it stands for a while so this is the perfect dish to cook the day before.