Browse Month by December 2010
Food

Colman’s Chicken Casserole

I was craving a good casserole one day – partly because it sounded delicious, and partly because anything that can be cooked altogether in one pot is exactly my cuppa tea.

Problem. Absolutely NO idea how to make it.

Solution. Colman’s Chicken Casserole.

Colman's Chicken Casserole

Yes, I know. I have traded full and heavenly homemade flavours for cheap and easy instant casserole mix. I caved. I hear gasps circulating through the foodie world to the admission of this unforgiveable crime.

I am such a drama queen *grin*.

In any case, here are the instructions on the packet.

Colman's Chicken Casserole Instructions

One and a half hours in the oven?! *looks incredulous* And I thought this was supposed to be instant.

Did I follow the instructions? Obviously not, I never do.

Ingredients

Colman’s chicken casserole mix
4 diced skinless chicken thighs
2 diced carrots
2 diced red onions (I would prefer normal onions, but this was all I had)
Chopped garlic
Brocolli florets
Water (I didn’t measure this)
Salt and pepper to taste

Method

  1. Prepare garlic, red onions and carrots in a pot. Brocolli to the side to add in later (don’t like it to be too soft).

    Garlic, Carrots, Red Onions
  2. In a separate bowl, mix contents of the Colman’s Chicken Casserole sachet with water. I thought it didn’t look too bad.

    Colman's Chicken Casserole Mix
  3. Place chicken in the pot with the garlic, onions and carrots and pour the sauce over. Yes I know, I need a bigger pot. But this was the biggest I had!

    Cooking Casserole
  4. Put on the stove until fully cooked and carrots soften (unless you want to bake it for one and half hours). Add a dash of salt and pepper to taste. My pot was clearly too small to add in my brocolli so I cooked that separately.
  5. I served it with rice because I love rice.

    Chicken Casserole and Rice

So I have to admit, doesn’t quite look like proper casserole. And definitely nothing like the photo on the packet! But it tasted okay – I wasn’t exactly expecting wonders when cooking from a sachet mix.

Didn’t quite satisfy my craving though, so I’ll have to learn to cook it properly.

At least I didn’t use a boil-in-a-bag casserole.

Photography

Break The Chains

The Chains

I like old and rusty things, so sometimes I go out with the purpose of photographing old, rusty things. It’s quite obvious the photo above was edited, I was going for an artistic feel to convey chains as a symbol or metaphor. When I took the photo, I was thinking of things in life that maybe hold us down or hold us back from what we want to do or who we want to be. It can be seemingly insignificant things like fear, lack of confidence and insecurities, or something more serious like a long-standing addiction. We’ve all experienced it in some way or another. What I’ve found is that although I have great people around me for support, all they can do is to support. But if I want to “break the chains”, I have to make a conscious decision to do something about it when it might be easier to pass the blame. It’s a hard truth and a battle of the wills. And sometimes that’s the scary thing – to realize that your life is in your hands and that you’re responsible for your decisions. The trick is recognizing and admitting what our problem is so we can do something about it.

Even if it’s as trivial as indulging myself in all things sweet and chocolate, while consciously abstaining from any kind of physical activity. I hold my hands up, I’m guilty, I admit it. New Year’s Resolution – time to hit the gym I think (this always happens at Christmas time).

All this rambling from one photo. I should stop thinking so much.

Rusty Chains

We often traverse through life,

Weighed down, burdened,

Bound by what we allow to be.

But if we alone forge the chains that bind us,

Perhaps only we can set us free.

Any act often repeated soon forms a habit; and habit allowed, steady gains in strength, At first it may be but as a spider’s web, easily broken through, but if not resisted it soon binds us with chains of steel. ~Tryon Edwards

Food

Fried Rice

I love fried rice. But I am a little picky about it. It can’t have too much non-rice foodstuff like veggie, meat etc. You might as well call it Fried Other Stuff. It can’t be too oily either. Not only does it make my stomach feel like it’s being covered with a thick layer of gooey gunk, it leaves me with a lot of grease to clean off in the kitchen. So if you want something done right, you’ve gotta do it yourself. And this is another one of my concoctions. It was one day inspired by my ravenous stomach in severe need of sustenance because I was busy and forgot to eat.

This recipe uses the turkey mince from another post. Like I said then, very versatile! So here goes!

Ingredients (serves 2)

1/2 red onion, diced
Sliced french beans
Turkey mince from previous post
2 eggs
1 cup raw rice, then cook it (I just used some leftovers)
1 tbsp sesame oil

Sauce for frying:
1 tbsp oyster sauce
1 tbsp sweet chilli sauce
1 tbsp Kikoman soy sauce
Chilli oil (optional)

Method

  1. Dice and slice the red onion and french beans.

    Red Onion and French Beans
  2. Heat a non-stick pan and put in sesame oil. Fry the onions first until slightly brownish, then add in french beans.

    Frying Onion and French Beans
  3. When beans appear half cooked, add in about two heaped tablespoons of the raw turkey mince preparation.

    Frying Turkey Mince
  4. Then push everything in the pan to one side and crack in two eggs (I don’t like my eggs clumping on everything else and this is the easy way). Drizzle some soy sauce onto the eggs and fry till cooked.

    Frying Eggs
  5. Finally, add in the rice and the various sauces (chilli oil if you like it spicy). Fry and mix everything well.
  6. Garnish with chopped spring onions if you wish, and enjoy eating!

Fried Rice

Non oily, non excessive-other-stuff and non egg-clumping-to-other-stuff fried rice.

Just the way I like it.

Of course, you could also add in grated carrots and diced capsicums for more colour and nutritional value.

Food

Chewy Chocolate Brownies

Apron Wisdom #4! And this only came about because I was craving cake (so what else is new?). One slight problem, well actually, a few. Where I was, I had no mixer, no electric beater, no measuring cups/spoons, not even a whisk. There was always the option of abandoning my baking mission, but this was a craving not to be ignored! So as always, phone call to mom for some kitchen SOS.

‘You can use my chewy brownies recipe from my blog.’

That’s it? From my source of sage advice? Not even going to talk me through it step-by-step?

Turns out, it was shockingly easy to make. I had to modify it because I didn’t have brown sugar, walnuts or vanilla extract. I also halved the ingredients because I knew I would eat it all. And when I use ‘cup measurements’, that’s me using a mug that looked roughly the size of a measuring cup. So definitely check out her original recipe at www.keeplearningkeepsmiling.com.

I used Lindt chocolate for this. For no other reason than the fact that I love Lindt chocolate!

Lindt Chocolate

Ingredients

Part A:
175g butter
100g dark chocolate
100g milk chocolate
1/2 cup natural sugar

Part B:
2 large eggs
1/4 cup natural sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla (I didn’t have any so I didn’t add this but I’m sure it would taste much better if you did!)

Part C:
1/2 cup plain flour

Method

  1. Put a pot of water to boil and a Pyrex bowl over the top (there’s a smart chef word for this but I don’t know what it is). Place Part A ingredients into the bowl and melt over the heat. Take off heat when fully melted.

    Melting Part A Ingredients
  2. Beat Part B ingredients and mix into Part A mixture. It should become quite thick and gooey.
    Mixing Part A and Part B Ingredients

    Thick and Gooey Mixture
  3. Finally, add the flour to the bowl and stir well.

    Mixing Flour
  4. Pour batter into a tray lined with greaseproof paper. Bake at 160°C for 30 minutes. If you smell the glorious cake smell before this, chances are it’s almost done. So don’t overbake it.
  5. Take it out and let it cool. Cut into squares and serve.

    Chewy Chocolate Brownies

Chewy and chocolatey. That’s the only way I like my brownies. And once again, mom’s recipe hasn’t let me down.

Does that look good, or does that look good? Satisfied my cravings? You betcha!

So when you find yourself stranded without your normal kitchen equipment, you can’t go wrong with this recipe! It’s almost far too simple.

Miscellaneous

Merry Christmas

I had meant to write a Christmas post yesterday but my Internet failed me and so this is one day late! I truly hope you had a most wonderful and lovely Christmas with your families and that it was a joyous time of celebrations and festivities. I also hope Santa has been good to you this year! I definitely had the most delightful Christmas, especially since it’s the first white Christmas I’ve ever had. Oh the joys!

Christmas is possibly the most wonderful time of the year when children are laughing, families gather together and the sounds of presents being ripped open fills the air. On that note, I will leave you with some Christmas humour from my all-time favourite comic strips, Calvin and Hobbes.

On  Building Snowmen

Snowmen Crossing
Snowmen Salute

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