Category: Craft

The Dishiest Dish – Chicken Tortilla Soup

What a week it’s been!  It was so much fun cooking for the Vincent Price cookalong but there were also many other meals to make.  My meal plan also got thrown out of whack because there was more chicken leftover than I had assumed there would be so I had to quickly find something to use it all up.  Enter Tortilla Soup!

 Tortilla Soup3

I can’t believe I have not come across this before.  Adding chips to soup?  Brilliant! You are supposed to use tortilla chips but I had some Doritos in the house.  Given this was a dish made mostly from leftovers and pantry items I decided to use them instead of having to buy more stuff. I loved the idea of being able to add your own crunch and avocado and herbs.  It reminded me of eating pho when you get the big plate of herbs and chilli and lime alongside your soup to add per your desire.

The other highlight was the Gourmet Traveller Cucumber, Pistachio, Grape and Feta salad.  It was so flavourful and beautiful to look at.  The recipe called for green grapes but I used black grapes.  I added some rocket (arugula) as well. It went superbly with some roasted salmon. 

Cucumber, Pistachio, Feta & Grape SaladThe biggest disappointment of the week was the saffron and pistachio kulfi.  I am always so excited when the warm weather rolls around and I can bring out the ice-cream maker but something in this recipe did not work.  You had to mix milk powder, custard powder and cornflour into buttermilk and one (who knows, possibly all) didn’t really dissolve even though I heated it exactly as directed.  The texture was grainy and it was bland to boot.  I added some dried cranberries which helped but it was still not ideal. If anyone has a kulfi recipe that works, please send it my way!

This week I am looking forward to cooking:

Starter /Lunch / Salad  – Sweet Potato Wedges with Chimichurri and Speck from Bon Appetit

Main Event – Slow Roasted Chermoula Lamb

Sweet Treats – Passionfruit and Coconut Custard. 

In Other News I Am

Listening To

The Message Podcast was good.  I have listened to the first two episodes and am enjoying it a lot. 

Playing

I am by no means a perfectionist but I have found a new game to play whilst waiting for my Candy Crush lives to regenerate.   It is hitting all my OCD buttons!

http://tappsgames.com/app/the-perfectionist/

Reading

I have finished Orphan #8 and am about to start The Reckoning.  This is the November book club selection.  Autobiography is not a genre I am overly fond of so I have mixed feelings about it.  We’ll see.  I am also not a fan of hard back books as most of my reading is done on the train and they can be heavy to carry.  Also I can hold up a paperback in one hand and read if I don’t get a seat but find it harder to do with a hardback. Because I’m weak. 

I found a two new blogs to follow.  In one of my first ventures into blogging I cooked food that was inspired by or mentioned in the books I was reading.  It was pretty dismal as I found that either no food was mentioned or it took me too long to read the books or the food was stuff I did not like.  Occasionally I think about bringing it back and go through phases where I start sticky noting food in the books I read.  Reading these both inspires me to get back into it.  And depresses me because these ladies do it so much better than I ever did!

Alison’s Wonderland Recipes

Little Library Cafe

Also, I have been reading this for a while now and I think she is one of the most hilarious people on the internet:

Bitches Gotta Eat

Reading/Listening

I have finished the Jon Ronson (loved it).  And have started on the audiobook for

The Faithful Couple

Watching

To celebrate a belated Halloween we watched You’re Next.  I had one scream out loud moment and it was pretty scary.  But we decided the overriding message was “Don’t mess with Australian girls”. Amen to that!

I am also about to start Season 3 of Orphan Black.

Making

Someone (not me thank Goodness) dropped our olive oil pouring bottle which smashed on the tiles.  He then quickly McGuyvered up a temporary replacement from an old wine bottle.  I really like it.  So it may be staying permanently.

Oil BottleHere’s the Tortilla Soup Recipe. 

Tortilla Soup

Tortilla Soup

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 red onion, chopped finely
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 400g can of tomatoes
  • 1.5 litres of chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1 chilli finely sliced
  • 1 cup leftover chicken, diced
  • 1 400g can of five bean mix
  • 1 310g can of corn
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • handful of coriander (cilantro) leaves
  • handful of tortilla or corn chips
  • Sliced chili / red onion (optional)
  • Lime wedges

Instructions

  • Heat the olive oil in a pan. Add the onion and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cumin and cook until the garlic is soft, about two minutes.
  • Add the tomatoes, stock, salt and sugar, and chilli and bring to the boil.'
  • Add the chicken, beans and corn and allow to heat through, about 10 minutes.
  • Spoon the soup into bowls.
  • Have bowls of corn chips, chopped avocado, chopped coriander, chilli, red onion and lime wedges on the table so eaters can help themselves to what they want.
http://www.retrofoodformoderntimes.com/2015/11/11/the-dishiest-dish-chicken-tortilla-soup/

What’s cooking in your kitchen?    What was the best thing you made this week? What’s your favorite thing to do with leftovers?

What are you looking forward to making next week? 

What are you reading, watching, listening to?

Please share!

Have a fabulous week everyone! 

Happy Cooking!

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Easy Like Devilled Chicken Skewers

I know it sound’s funny but I just….. have to tell you about another food penchant I have.  I am utterly obsessed with kebabs.   If you like it,  then you should  put a stick in it may well be one of my cooking mantras. 

Lord only knows what that says about the sad state of my psyche. My addiction to Buffy the Vampire Slayer gone awry?  Or just being time poor and realising that if you chop stuff up small and put a stick in it, food  cooks in a fraction of the time?  Yeah, lets go with that one. 

Devilled Chicken Skewers5Guess what?  We’ve finally hit E in the A-Z of Cooking.  And to quote The Shamen from 1992.  “E’s are good, e’s are good”.  And I’m sure, in some sort of 13 year prescience, this is EXACTLY what they were referring to.  Shame on you all those people who thought it was some thinly veiled drug reference. 

Devilled Chicken Skewers

And not only are we up to E but, in another tip to the music of 1992 we are Easy Like a Sunday Morning or Easy Enough For Beginners as The A-Z of Cooking prefers to call it.

And yep, the recipe for Devilled Chicken, because that’s what we’re making today folks is easy peasy. 

Mix together the wet ingredients – chutney, tomato paste, mustard and tabasco and pour over your chicken pieces.  I didn’t have chutney so I used a sweet chilli relish I was given in a Christmas Hamper.  You could also use a sweet chilli sauce or anything else that is going to give you a sweet and spicy vibe. 

Devilled Chicken Skewers2Cook.

Eat.

Done. 

And for something that easy, it’s very tasty. And sure you can leave it just like that.  Or, fancy it up a bit by cutting the chicken into smaller pieces,adding some veg and putting a stick in it to make some super easy, super tasty chicken skewers.

Devilled Chicken Skewers3I used cherry tomatoes, onion, green peppers and pineapple. And these were delicious!  And with all the time I saved, I made these dinky little pot plant holders with air plants and recycled wine corks and watched the Faith No More version of Easy about a million times on YouTube. You could probably do something more useful with your life….

Recycled Cork PlanterAnyway, I ‘m off to drink more wine…create a few more planters.  I think I might give them as stocking stuffers this year.  I might need to create a LOT more planters between now and Christmas!  I know, it’s a dirty job, but someone’s got to do it!

Have a fabulous week. 

Devilled Chicken Skewers
Easy enough for beginners, these chicken skewers are tasty and very quick to make.
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Ingredients
  1. 3 tbsp chutney / sweet chilli relish / sweet chilli sauce
  2. 1 tbsp tomato paste
  3. 1/4 tsp Tabasco sauce, or to taste
  4. 1/4 tsp wholegrain mustard
  5. 4 chicken breast pieces
  6. 1 onion, sliced
  7. 1 punnet cherry tomatoes
  8. 1 can pineapple rings, quartered
  9. I green pepper, cut into strips
  10. Salt and Pepper
Instructions
  1. Mix together the chutney, tomato paste, Tabasco sauce, mustard and seasonings.
  2. Cut the chicken breasts into long, thin strips.
  3. Place in the chutney mix and stir to combine.
  4. If you have time, leave this to marinate, you can leave it overnight or use it immediately.
  5. Heat your grill to 200C
  6. Thread the chicken onto skewers, alternating with vegetables and pineapple.
  7. Place under the grill and cook for 15 minutes or until chicken is tender, and juices run clear
Notes
  1. If using wooden skewers, soak in water for half and hour before using.
Adapted from The A-Z of Cooking
Adapted from The A-Z of Cooking
Retro Food For Modern Times http://www.retrofoodformoderntimes.com/
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Retro Food For Modern Times – Party Tips from 1971

Every good hostess knows that there’s more to throwing a good party than just great food.

You also need loads of booze.

No, seriously…you do.

But you also need to set your scene and today we’re going to at some suggestions on how to do just that from the authors of The Party Cookbook.

Let’s start with some dubious advice for hosting a dinner party given to us by Ted Moloney.

Dinner Party a la Ted Moloney.
Dinner Party a la Ted Moloney

“Paid casual help has become very expensive and few people can afford to employ more than one person.  Which should it be?… a waiter is the answer…find the right man and use him always.  Have him come early.  He will be able to give your glasses a last minute polish and set out the drinks for you…any party will run more smoothly when a man serves the drinks and waits on the table”.

Does anyone else find the sentence “Find the right man and use him alway” just a little bit smutty?  Particularly when followed by a sentence suggesting that you get him to come early?

I’m a little disappointed that Ted didn’t suggest hiring a buxom serving wench who may have been up for a bit of slap and tickle between courses whilst Yakety Sax played in the background.  (In my mind, the whole of the ’70’s was just one long episode of  Benny Hill). I’m also gobsmacked that people found it necessary to hire staff for a party for eight people!

Ted’s admiration of the male at the dinner table doesn’t extend to the host whom he seems to assume is some sort of simpleton.

“Give the man of the house his share of the spotlight.  If your first course is soup, let him serve it from a tureen at the table”.

“Give him a chafing dish and encourage him to take up table cooking. It is easy and fun”

He also provides a menu called the Man Takes Over which:

“Is an easy dinner menu…which any man can cope with successfully.”

Awww….now kiddies, can we spell patronising?  Is anyone else imagining the host as Cousin Ruprecht from Dirty Rotten Scoundrels?

How I imagine the host

Here is the photo of the “Man Takes Over”.

The Man takes over 001

Yep, it’s a cheeseboard.

And by the look of that Edam, maybe the man shouldn’t have taken over.  Did he go at that with a shovel?  No wonder they need someone to help with the drinks!

Moving from the bumbling to the utterly awesome, meet Greta Anne Teplitzky and her Summer Buffet Party.

Summer Buffet Dinner Party
Summer Buffet Dinner Party

How utterly amazing is this photo?  When I grow up, I want to be Greta Anne Tepliztky.  I want to live in her house with that awesome copper hood for the fireplace.  I want the colours on my kaftan to exactly match the colours in the flowers, the candles and the napery.  That kind of co-ordination doesn’t happen by accident!  Greta has planned this party to the nth degree and yet she looks cool, calm and collected.  Greta exudes a kind of European sophistication where you know that she will shortly be lighting a pink Sobranie and having a glass of champagne.  She’s not hovering over her food, nervously worrying that you won’t like it. Greta is content to sit back and allow her summer buffet party to speak for itself.  Greta is chilled out.  She’s zen.  I think I love her.

Just as Greta’s buffet says all the right things, the open house party says all the wrong things…

Open House Party
Open House Party

This table has a distinct lack of serving implements.  Bad enough picking up the bread and meat with your hands, what are you meant to do with the mustards and condiments? Stick your finger into the jars? And whilst we’re on that don’t leave your pickles in the jar they were bought in.  Do you want people to think you’re common?   Oh wow…I just channelled my mother.  However, not having serving implements isn’t just lazy, it’s dirty.  We’ve all heard about the peanuts in the bar containing nine types of pee.  This table may as well be lit with a neon sign that says “Hi folks, welcome to dysentery.”

And speaking of signs…If you are planning any sort of buffet extravaganza DO NOT EVER put up a blackboard that tells people to help themselves.  If your guests do not have sufficient wits about them to know that the whole idea of a buffet is for people to help themselves, you probably need a new set of friends.  Moreover, do not do this in faux olde worlde phrasing.  It’s not cute, it’s obnoxious.  And yes, I am perfectly aware I just used the same old-fangled wording I’m complaining about.  If you haven’t figured out by now that obnoxious is my stock in trade, welcome to Retro Food for Modern Times, I hope you’re enjoying your first visit, do come again.

Decorating your house for a party is also important. It not only provides something interesting for your guests to look at, it reflects your personality.  If you have no personality, one way in which you can still make your house interesting to guests is to copy interpret ideas from your favourite books and magazines.  Take this picture from The Party Cookbook, which is a sans chafing dish view of Ted Moloney’s dinner party. Ted was holding out on us because, this picture gives rise to the second best bit of decor in the entire book.

Decor
Decor

I love that vase with the twigs and the birds.

So much so that I made one myself!

The birds are Christmas decorations, the twigs came from the park next door and I had the vase.  Too easy!

I think this is very cute and if I had more space I would probably leave it in place permanently.  Unfortunately, wherever I put it, it’s in danger of taking someone’s eye out so it will shortly have to be dismantled.

Bird and Twig Vase
Bird and Twig Vase
Bird and Twig Vase 2
Bird and Twig Vase 2
Blue Bird
Blue Bird
Red Bird
Red Bird

I’ll be spending my week working on my craft skills by hammering a sheet of copper into a hood.  Have a great week whatever you do!

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