Tag Archives: black pepper

Mussels with white wine and cream

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I’ve spent a lot of time around mussels. Serving them, clearing them, tasting them, seeing them be cooked, seeing them be cleaned. Obviously not in that order, but you get what I mean. Working in a Belgian Beer Cafe you see a lot of mussels. Yet, I’m not quite sick of them. I used to think they were pretty gross looking but really, who doesn’t?

I first started to appreciate them in Western Australia when my parents would buy them cold from the supermarket cooked and marinated in a simple olive oil and herb mixture. I had them again in Quebec, Canada covered in garlic and cream and bacon and thought I had died and gone to heaven. And when I started living in Sydney one of my best friends told me I just had to try out this Belgian Beer Cafe where they served blue cheese mussels. Even as a red-blooded American who loves her blue cheese, I was pretty skeptical. But I tagged along- had an amazingly rich and creamy bowl of mussels and funnily enough also landed myself a trial at the restaurant that would become a big part of my life for the next two years. So yeah, mussels and I have had a pretty emotional journey.

Though we’ve been on such great adventures together, I’ve never really cooked mussels at home before. My dad’s played around with them in the kitchen once or twice but I’ve never done it myself. A few months ago Ciaran and I found ourselves at the Taste of Sydney festival and decided to bring home a packet of Spring Bay mussels. We picked up a little recipe card at the same stand and decided to go the simple route and just follow that. It’s a great weeknight meal because it’s quick, simple and low-fuss. Just pair your dish with some fresh, crusty bread and a nice bottle of wine.

Mussels with white wine & cream (Moules mariniere)

Serves: 2 as a main or 3-4 as a starter
Recipe from Spring Bay

Ingredients

  • 1kg packet Spring Bay Mussels
  • 15g unsalted butter
  • 2 (30g) purple eschallots or ½ a red onion, very finely diced
  • 1 small clove garlic, finely chopped
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • a sprig of thyme
  • a bay leaf
  • 100ml white wine
  • 150ml thickened or whipping cream
  • ¼ cup rough chopped continental parsley

Method

  1. Heat a large heavy based pot with a tight fitting lid over a low heat.
  2. Add the butter, when it’s melted add the eschallots, garlic and some freshly ground black pepper. Cook for 2-3 minutes or until the eschallots are clear and soft.
  3. Increase the heat to high, add the thyme, bay leaf, cream and wine and cook for 3-4 minutes or until the liquid has reduced by 1/3 in volume.
  4. Open the packet of mussels and pour into a colander, give them a light rinse.
  5. Pour the mussels into the boiling wine mixture, give them a stir and then quickly put on the lid. Cook for 3 minutes or until the mussels open. Sprinkle over the parsley and serve with the cooking liquid, some crusty bread and salad.

Note

  • The mussels will open as they cook, if there are any unopened mussels, remove the open mussels from the pot with a slotted spoon and place in a serving bowl. Replace the lid and cook the rest for 1 minute longer.

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Haloumi with mushrooms and asparagus

For a while I really wasn’t sure what the fuss was over haloumi. Honestly I hadn’t even heard about it much before coming to Sydney. Over here though you can find it everywhere. I guess it has taken over the place of feta or goat’s cheese in salads across the city. To be honest, I just kept seeing the name everywhere and for ages I thought it was a type of mushroom…not a type of cheese. But turns out, it is a cheese and it is darn tasty. So I decided to cook some for myself. This recipe is probably best done on the grill, haloumi has a very high melting point which makes it ideal for grilling or frying, but I don’t own a grill so I pan-fried this salty little treat. I simply seasoned it with some lemon juice, salt and pepper and paired it with some steamed asparagus and sauteed mushrooms. Simple, easy, done. And it’s under 500 calories.

Enjoy!

Haloumi with mushrooms and asparagus
Serves 4

Ingredients:
3 tbs olive oil
1 tbs lemon juice
Cracked black pepper
400g button mushrooms, quartered
250g haloumi, sliced
18 asparagus spears
1/2 tsp lemon zest
1/4 cup slivered almonds, toasted

Method

1. Preheat grill pan or barbecue.
2. Combine oil, lemon juice and pepper in a small bowl. Toss through mushrooms and haloumi.
3. Place mushrooms and haloumi on grill pan or barbecue and cook, 5 to 7 minutes, turning regularly to prevent haloumi from burning.
4. Steam asparagus, 2 to 3 minutes.
5. Arrange mushrooms, haloumi and asparagus on serving plate and scatter on lemon zest and almonds.

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Coconut crusted chicken tenders

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Just in case you needed some weeknight meal inspiration this week, here are some delectable coconut crusted chicken tenders. Perfect for a simple dinner with a side salad and easy to take on the go for lunch the next day.

Enjoy!

Coconut Chicken Tenders

Recipe from Can you stay for dinner?

(serves 4)

  • 1 lb chicken tenderloins or chicken breasts, sliced into long, 1″ thick strips
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 3/4 cup shredded, sweetened coconut
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil

Preheat oven to 400°F/200°C. Create an assembly line for easy coating of each tenderloin: Place all chicken strips on one plate. Next to that, place flour in a wide, shallow bowl. Lightly whisk eggs in another wide, shallow bowl. Combine panko, coconut, salt, and pepper in a fourth and final wide, shallow bowl. Now, take one chicken strip and toss it in the flour, shaking off the excess. Then, dredge the floured strip in the egg bath. Next, gently toss the chicken strip in the panko/coconut mixture, pressing to coat on each side. Place the coated strip on a plate or cookie sheet until you have finished coating all of the chicken.

Next, heat a large skillet over medium-high heat on your stove top. Add one tablespoon oil, swirling to coat. Add half of the chicken strips in a single layer, leaving space between each one. Cook for about 3 minutes, then flip and cook for an additional 3 minutes. Remove the chicken to a foil lined baking sheet coated with nonstick cooking spray. Add the remaining one tablespoon oil to the pan and then the second half of the chicken strips and cook for 3 minutes per side. Remove that second batch and place on the baking sheet. Set it in the oven for 10 minutes, so that the chicken tenders can cook through.

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Chicken Schnitzel with Jaeger Sauce

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For those cold wintery nights when you’re curled up with a glass of red wine and the latest Game of Thrones episode, you need a good hearty meal.

This Sunday, it happened to be chicken schnitzel.

All the gore and sex and general drama of Game of Thrones can get pretty intense, so this is honestly a perfect meal for the occasion. You can get out your meat-pounder device, or really anything you can hold in one hand and hit a chicken breast with, and channel your inner ‘Kingslayer’ while constructing a very nice and flavourful meal.

Chicken Schnitzel

Serves 4
Chicken schnitzel recipe from my boyfriend, Ciaran, who learned the skills while living in Austria
Recipe for the sauce fromhttp://germanfood.about.com/od/meatbasedrecipesandmenu/r/jaegerschnitzel.htm

Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes

Ingredients:

Sauce:
1 small onion, chopped
1 tablespoon butter
8 oz. mushrooms, sliced
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup white wine
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons cream, divided
2 tablespoons flour
1/4 tablespoons salt
Freshly ground pepper
3 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped

For the chicken:
400 grams chicken breast
1 cup flour, for covering the chicken
3-4 eggs, lightly whisked
1 cup breadcrumbs
1/4 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground pepper
Oil, for frying

Preparation:

For the sauce:

Sauté onion until translucent, add sliced mushrooms, brown for 5 minutes. Add broth and wine, cook 3 minutes. Add 1/2 cup of half and half or cream, bring to a boil and simmer for several minutes. Mix remaining 2 tablespoons of cream with 2 tablespoons of flour. Add flour slurry to mushroom mixture and bring to a boil, stirring to avoid clumps. Add parsley, salt and pepper to taste. Keep warm while cutlets are cooked.

For the schnitzel:

Heat oil in a deep skillet, it should be enough to completely cover the schnitzel. Lay out cutlets on a cutting board and pound until thin (1/4 inch thick or less). Line up three bowls next to the cutlets. In the first, place the lightly whisked eggs with a pinch of salt and pepper. In the second, place the flour, and in the third, place the breadcrumbs. Cover one chicken breast in flour and then dip in the eggs, let the excess drip off, and then in the breadcrumbs. Repeat with each chicken breast. Once the oil is hot, you can test by dropping a piece of bread or a small piece of schnitzel in and seeing if it begins to fry, then add the schnitzels in and fry for about 3 minutes on each side. Fry only 1 or 2 at a time so they have enough space.

Serve with sauce and mashed potatoes. And lots of beer. Or wine. Feel free to embrace your inner Lannister and down a bucket of wine or prost to your German side with a refreshing wheat bier.

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