Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Rice Bubbles - Mars Bar Crunchy Slice

A while ago I posted my first rice bubbles slice recipe, the fruit & nuts muesli bars as I was looking for recipes to use up the box of cereal.  After that, I went to try the other recipe I had bookmarked, the caramel nut crunch, with a great expectation that it would turn out crunchy and nutty.  However, it turned out as a disaster as it was soggy and it was a waste of those lovely nuts I put in.  The recipe called for soft caramels and I used the tin "fill top caramel" and that probably not the right kind of caramels.  Should I use those soft caramel candy instead?  I was a bit hesitated to try this Mars Bar recipe as I didn't like Mars Bar too much. (too sweet)  I used dark chocolate instead of milk chocolate to balance the sweetness of the Mars Bar and it turned out a success.  It was crunchy and chocolatey.  I have used up all the rice bubbles, I may have to buy another box just to make this slice and have another attempt for the caramel nut crunch.  I might end up forever looking for recipes for rice bubble.

Mars Bar Crunchy Slice

195g Mars Bar (about a packet of fun size one, leave 2 for yourself)
90 butter
3 cups Rice Bubbles

200g dark chocolate
30g butter

  1. Place baking paper onto a 19cmx29cm lamington pan.
  2. Combine Mars Bars and butter in a large saucepan.  Stir constantly over low heat without boiling until mixture is smooth.  Then stir in rice bubbles.  Press the mixture evenly into the pan.
  3. Melt the chocolate with butter in the microwave with a microwave safe container.  Heat on medium heat for 40 second, then stir a bit and repeat the process until the chocolate and butter are well mixed.  Spread onto the slice and refrigerate until set before cutting.  
Source: Adopted and modified from the cookbook "Cakes & Slices" from the Australian Women's Weekly, Home Library.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Chicken and Leek Triangles

Chicken and leek is a good combination, you can make that into pie, soup, quiche or even stuffing.  I should use leek more often in my Asian cooking considering the nutrient it has.  I'm lucky to get the last leek from the supermarket as many people buy it to make soup for the cold weather.  (My guessing!)  This time I'm putting it into little triangles as finger food.

Chicken and Leek Triangles
(makes about 24)

300g chicken mince
1 leek, thinly sliced
1 bacon, finely chopped
1 teaspoon garlic minced
1/4 cup cream
1/4 cup white wine
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
12 sheets filo pastry
melted butter or vegetable oil for brushing


  1. Heat oil in pan, cook the chicken until brown then add the leek, bacon and garlic.  Stir for a few minutes until the leek is soft.  Add the wine, cream and seasoned with salt and pepper.  Remove from the heat, stir in the parmesan cheese.  Let cool.
  2. Lay the pastry onto the bench top, cut it into 4 strips lengthways.  Take 2 strips and cover the rest while folding the triangles.  
  3. Brush the bottom strip with butter and cover it with another strip.  Place 1 tablespoon of the chicken mixture at the end of the strip.  Fold the end diagonally over the fillings, then continue folding to the end of the strip to from a triangle.  Brush it with more butter.  Repeat the process for the rest of the pastry.
  4. Bake the triangles in an 180c preheated oven for about 25 minutes or until browned.

Source: Adopted and modified from the cookbook "Homestyle Chicken" published by Murdoch Books.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Easy Casserole - Apricot Chicken

This easy casserole can be prepared on weekdays as it only take 15 minutes to prepare and you just leave the rest of the cooking to the oven.  It was taught by one of my old neighbour who had 6 children but she could still maintain her house spotless clean and feeding the children well.  What a super woman!  When you have a big family, you always have to utilise everything and have a good budget.  It's a challenging job to do indeed.  I have added more vegetables into the dish to add flavours and the fried onions work very well with the dish.

Apricot Chicken
(serve 4)

5 chicken thigh cutlets (skin or skinless) or a mixed of chicken portions
1 x tin of 425 ml apricot nectar
1x packet salt-reduced French onion soup mix
5-6 pieces of tin apricot halves (optional)
1 onion, cubed
1/2 green capsicum, cubed
1 carrot, sliced
1 stalk celery, chopped
1 teaspoon garlic, minced
cucumber, sliced
Asian fried onions


  1. Preheat oven to 180c.  Marinate the chicken with salt and pepper.
  2. Heat oil in the casserole, pan fry the onion for a while then add the chicken and garlic.
  3. Add in the rest of the vegetables, stir a few seconds, then pour in the apricot nectar and soup mix.  Mix well and let it simmer for a few minutes.
  4. Add in the apricot halves and seasoned it with salt if you wish. 
  5. Bake, covered for 50 minutes.  Serve it with rice, cucumber and fried onion. 

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Chicken and Tzatziki Wrap

There are two "I have not" in this post.  First, I have not make tzatziki before and secondly, I have not have it in a wrap.  I usually have tzatziki as a dip with crackers.  The store bought one isn't as condense and it hasn't got as many cucumber as the homemade one.  I think I will keep this as my regular recipe. This recipe is low-fat making it a healthy lunch choice.

Chicken and Tzatziki Wrap
(serve 4)

4 sheets of lavash bread
8 butter lettuce leaves
1/4 red onion, sliced
4 chicken thighs, skinless
1 teaspoon garlic, minced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon coriander, chopped
salt and pepper

For the tzatziki sauce:
1/2 continental cucumber
1/2 teaspoon salt
100g low-fat natural yoghurt
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon chopped mint
freshly cracked black pepper


  1. Marinate the chicken thighs with salt and pepper, garlic and cumin.
  2. Seed and grate the cucumber then sprinkle with salt.  Leave for 10 minutes, squeeze and drain the juice.  Mix the cucumber with yoghurt, lemon juice, mint and pepper.
  3. Pan fry the chicken,  add the coriander to the chicken when it's half cooked.  Slice the cooked chicken.
  4. Place two lettuce leaves on the bread, top with the chicken, onion and spread with the tzataiki.  Roll up and cut into 2-3 pieces.  Repeat for the other bread.

Source: Adopted and modified from the cookbook "Ready, Steady, Lucnchbox - cooking for kids and with kids" by Lucy Broadhurst.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Chicken Ballotine

This is probably the most challenge dish I've ever done for a chicken.  I have deboned chicken many times while working in the restaurant.  However, debone it in the western way and making stuffing are my first attempt.  It took me 2 hours to prepare the chicken and stuffing and another 1 1/2 hours cooking time.  I didn't roll it perfectly but I was pretty happy with the end result.  It is such an elegant looking dish.  There are some left-over stuffing and I might practise more rolling skill on chicken breast or thigh.  It would be much easier to roll up smaller pieces than a whole chicken.  Will I make this dish again?  Surly I would cook this again for a special occasion. 

Chicken Ballotine
(serve 6)

1.6 kg chicken
2 red capsicums
1 bunch of silverbeet
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1 tablespoon garlic minced
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
200g ricotta cheese
1 cup breadcrumb
1 tablespoon oregano, chopped


  1. Cut through the skin of the chicken on the centre back.  Separate the flesh from the bone down one side to the breast and be careful not to pierce the skin.  
  2. Follow along the bones closely with the knife, gradually easing the meat from the thigh, drumstick and wings.
  3. Cut through the thigh bone where it meets the drumstick and cut off the wing tip.  
  4. Repeat on the other side then lift the ribcage away, leaving the flesh in one piece and the drumsticks still attached to the flesh.  
  5. Discard the bones from the thigh, drumsticks and wings.  Trim off big chucks of fat around the neck and bottom of the chicken but leave the skin.  Turn the wing and drumstick flesh inside the chicken and lay the chicken out flat, skin side down.
  6. For the stuffing: remove the stalks from the silverbeet and finely shred the leaves.  Heat oil in pan and stir in the onion, garlic and silverbeet until soft and moisture evaporated.  Cool for a few minutes.
  7. Process the silverbeet onion mixture with parmesan cheese, breadcrumb, oregano and half of the ricotta cheese.  Season to taste.
  8. Preheat the oven to 180c.  Quarter the capsicums and remove the membranes and seeds.  Place skin side up under a hot grill until the skin blackens.  Place in a plastic bag to cool.  Peel off the skin.
  9. For bundling the chicken: spread the silverbeet mixture over the chicken and lay the capsicum over the silverbeet.  Place the remaining ricotta cheese across the width of the chicken.  
  10. Fold the sides of the chicken in over the filing do they overlap slightly and tuck the end neatly.  Secure the chicken with toothpicks and tie with strings. (Roll the chicken from the width so that each cut piece would have an even portion of the breast and thigh)
  11. Place the chicken roll onto a lightly greased large piece of aluminium foil, season the chicken with some extra oilve oil, salt and pepper.  Roll the chicken up securely in the foil and seal the ends well.  Place on a baking tray and bake for 1 1/2  hour in a moderately oven.  Open up the foil and pour some pan juice over the chicken after  1 hour and let it cook for further 30 minutes or until juices run clear when a skewer is insert into the centre.
  12. Allow to cool with the foil covered before removing toothpicks and strings.  Cut into pieces and serve with white wine infused gravy and steamed vegetables.   

Note: It is easier to cut the chicken when it is cooled.  Cover the left over with foil and reheat it in the oven the next day.

Source:  Adopted and modified from the cookbook "Homestyle Chicken" published by Murdoch Books.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Double Choc Caramel Slice

I took the kids to the corner shop to get some lollies for a treat on the weekend.  We found this little piece of caramel slice selling at the counter for only 50c.  I hadn't made caramel slice for a long time because I could get quite addicted to it.  I had all the ingredients at home so I went home and started cooking straight away.  My son took two slices to school the next day and his friends were willing to pay $2 for a slice.  He shared a little bit with his good friend and ate the rest all by himself while the rest of his friends are dribbling at it.  

Double Choc Caramel Slice

3/4 cup self-raising flour
1/4 cup plain flour
2/3 cup caster sugar
1/2 cup desiccated coconut
125g butter, melted

For the filling:
395g sweetened condensed milk
2 tablespoons golden syrup
30g butter

For the topping:
100g dark cooking chocolate
100g milk cooking chocolate


  1. Preheat oven to 180c.  Line a 18cm x 28cm lamington pan with baking paper.
  2. Combine the first 5 ingredients, mix well.  Press into pan and bake for 10 minutes.
  3. Combine condensed milk, golden syrup and butter in pan.  Stir over medium heat until boiling, reduce heat and stir constantly until it changes colour.  (Do not worry if there are some burn bits, that doesn't show once baked.) Spread the caramel over base, bake further 10 minutes.  Let cool.
  4. Melt the dark and milk chocolate in a microwave safed bowl with medium heat for 30 seconds, and further 20 seconds until the chocolate melted.  Spread it over the caramel and put the slab of slice into the fridge before cutting into small pieces.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Panang Curry Chicken Pies

People from the north may be enjoying the lovely spring, we are having a bit of a chill in the down under.  I have the heater on, put on my bed socks and snuggle myself under the quilt.  I always dream of having curry when it is cold, the lovely hot curry heat up my stomach and keep me warm.  This time I'm putting the curry into pies.  It is such a joy looking at the steam rising from the pie when you have the pastry splits open.

Panang Curry Chicken Pies
(makes 3)

260g chicken pieces
1 sheet of puff pastry
1/3 cup onion, chopped
1/3 cup green beans, chopped
1/4 cup carrot, diced
1 tablespoon red capsicum, finely diced
1 tablespoon baby peas
1 stalk of lemon grass, only keep the white part and cut the stalk in 1/2
1 teaspoon garlic mince
1/2 cup coconut cream
1 heap teaspoon of panang curry paste
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons raw sugar
1 teaspoon of cornflour mixed with 1 tablespoon water
1 egg, beaten


  1. Heat oil in the pan, add the onion and curry paste, then add the sugar and stir for a bit.  Add in the chicken and stir for a few minutes until the chicken is nearly cooked.  Add the garlic, carrot, capsicum, beans, lemon grass and coconut cream.  Let it simmer for about 10 -15 minutes, add in the baby peas, seasoned it with salt and thicken it with the cornflour mixture.
  2. Discard the lemon grass.  Fill the ramekins with the chicken curry.  Brush the edge of 3 ramekins with egg. 
  3. Cut the puff pastry into quarters.  Place one piece of pastry over the ramekins and trim off the side.
  4. Cut a little cross in the middle with the knife for air hole so you won't ended up with a pop up pie.
  5. Use the left over pastry to make pattern for the pie and brush it with egg before putting into the oven.
  6. Cook it in a hot oven at 230c for about 20 minutes or until pastry is golden.  Serve it with fried rice or steam rice.    


Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Pork Chop Roll Vietnamese Style

After the post of pork burger, I have readers visit my blog searching for the recipe of pork chop burger.  Pork chop burger is another famous dish in Macau.  I missed the chance to taste it when I visited there last time.  It was featured in Hong Kong's cooking and travel show, the bun supposed to be crusty on the outside and soft inside, and the meat should be tender.  It would be something I have to try next time when I'm in Macau.

As I have no idea of the taste of Macau's famous pork chop burger, I could only make something that I can manage.  I find this vietnamese style bread roll in the supermarket which is perfect to work with pork chop, then I get an idea to create this pork chop roll.  I marinate the pork chop with lemon grass and fish sauce to give it a strong favour.  A little of dijon mayonnaise and tomato sauce are just enough to give it a kick.  Delicious!
Pork Chop Roll Vietnamese Style
(serve 2)

2 Crusty Vietnamese Rolls
2 pork loin chops
tomato, sliced
butter lettuce
red onion, sliced
dijon mayonnaise
tomato sauce

For the marinate:
1 teaspoon garlic mince
1 1/2 tablespoon lemongrass powder
3 tablespoons fish sauce
3-4 teaspoons raw sugar


  1. Trim off excess fat from the pork chop.  Remove the bone as you don't want to bite onto the bone.  Use a meat mallet to pound pork thinly.  If you don't have a meat mallet, you can use the back of the knife pounding.  This helps to tender the meat.
  2. Mixed the marinate in a small bowl and season the meat with the marinate for at least 30 minutes.
  3. Heat pan with 1/3 oil, pan fry the pork until brown and well cooked on both side.  Half the pork chop vertically.
  4. Butter the bread roll, fill it with lettuce, tomato, onion, pork chops and the sauce.

pounding the pork chops

absorb excess oil with kitchen paper

a cross-section look of the bun

Monday, May 9, 2011

Lemon Cream Brulee

My husband brought me a set of ramekins with a kitchen torch from the Post Office as one of the Mother's Day present.  Australia's Post Office does not only sell stamps, posting mails and parcels, you can also pay bills, get a new mobile phone or pick up some gifts.  So the Post Office is not a boring place to go to.  Let's get back to the food business, I follow the recipe from the packet to make this cream brulee, (burnt cream).  The toffee is crispy and the custard is rich.  One of the advantage of giving kitchen ware for Mother's Day is that you'll always get some yummy food in return.  I've made cream brulee before without a kitchen torch and it never turns out as good.  The other recipe I have is to boil the cream, then whisk into the egg yolks and cook the custard in a double boiler.  I find this new recipe easy to follow as I just let the oven does the cooking.  What is your favourite dessert giving you the choice of cream carmel, chocolate lava cake and cream brulee?  Hard to choose, isn't it?
Lemon Cream Brulee
(serve 4)

3 egg yolks
300ml whipping cream
1/6 cup sugar, about 3 tablespoons
1/2 teaspoon vanilla essence
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest


  1. Beat egg yolks slightly with a whisk.  Stir in cream, sugar, vanilla essence and lemon zest in another bowl.  Add in egg yolks and beat with the whisk until well blended.
  2. Pour the egg mixture into the ramekins.  Place the ramekins in a deep baking tray and fill it with hot water until 2/3 the height of the ramekins.
  3. Bake in a pre-heated moderately slow oven (160c) for 30 minutes or until the top is light brown, sides are set, centres jiggly.
  4. Cool the ramekins at wire rack.  Cover with plastic wrap and put into the fridge until chilled.  (about 4 hours)
  5. Sprinkle 1-2 teaspoons sugar over each custard.  Caramelise sugar by holding the kitchen torch 8cm from the custard, moving flame continuously over in circular motion until sugar is melted and turned light golden brown.  Decorate it with mints and raspberries.
cooked and cooled custard

ready to get sugar caramelise

this is the fun part making the toffee

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Chocolate Lava Cakes with Raspberry Coulis

What makes this dish hard is that you have to know your oven.  In my first attempt, it was too runny, then the second one had a perfect gooey centre but the bottom was stuck.  So I put some non-stick paper at the base of the ramekins on my third trial until I got it right.  You can make it a day ahead and simply heat up 20 minutes before serving.  I wouldn't say to no to this cake for dessert, no matter how full I've got with the mains.  Have a Happy Mother's Day!

Chocolate Lava Cakes
(make 4)

90g dark chocolate, chopped
125g butter, chopped
2 eggs
1/4 cup caster sugar
2 tablespoons plain flour
Whipped cream, to serve

Raspberry Coulis:
1 cup frozen raspberry
2 tablespoon raw sugar


  1. Place chocolate and butter in a microwave-safe bowl.  Microwave on medium heat for 30 seconds, then stir with a spoon and heat again for another 30 seconds until the chocolate is melted and combined.  Let it cool aside.
  2. Cut 4 rounds with baking paper, the same size as the base of the ramekins.  Place the paper at the bottom of the dish and grease the side of the ramkins with butter.
  3. Beat the eggs and sugar until thick and creamy, fold chocolate mixture and sifted flour.  Spoon the mixture into the ramekins.  Freeze for at least 1 hour.  
  4. Preheat oven to 200c or 180c fan-forced.  Place the dishes on a baking tray.  Bake for 20 minutes or the cooked on the outside.  Turn the oven off and leave it in the oven for further 3-5 minutes.  The cake will wobble with touched.  Use a toothpick to test if the side of the cake is cooked and the middle should be runny.
  5. Turn onto plates.  Top with cream, dusted with cocoa powder and serve with raspberry coulis.
  6. For the raspberry coulis: place the raspberry and sugar in a small saucepan and heat with medium-low heat until the sugar is dissolved and raspberry is cooked.  Remove from heat and push mixture through a sieve.   
Note: You can cut down the fat by reducing 1/3 of the butter and the sauce becomes thicker.
Source: adopted and modified from www.taste.com.au/recipes/24568/chocolate+lava+cakes
strain the seeds to make raspberry coulis
ready to put into the freezer
hot lava cake
ready to serve

Stuffed Chicken Maryland with Vegetables

This is probably the first recipe I get from the Australian Women's Weekly magazine.  It is not written down any where and I only remember it in my heart.  I have added some tomato paste over the chicken to give it more flavour and I think it's French style to put stuffing between skin and meat. (???) It's a recipe adopted from Margaret Fulton when she was working for the magazine a long time ago.  You can see her judging at MasterChef Australia and promoting for the supermarket, her food has been labeled as "honest to goodness."  I haven't got many of her cookbooks, only two books for the beginners but her recipes are simple and easy to follow.

This is the main course for my Mother's Day Special and I'm serving it with the stuffing made from my friend, DeLynne who comes from US.  She bakes the chicken stuffing on its own rather than stuffing into the chicken, so it is has a crispy crust like the quiche.  I don't fancy stuffing too much but DeLynne's stuffing has changed my view for it.

Stuffed Chicken Maryland with Vegetables
(serve 4)

4 chicken maryland
1/2 cup bacon pieces
1 small zucchini, finely chopped
1/2 small onion, finely chopped
1/3 cup shredded cheese
1 teaspoon garlic mince
tomato paste
extra shredded cheese
salt and pepper

For the vegetables:
steamed broccolini
mashed sweet potato


  1. Trim off excess fat of the chicken maryland, season it with salt and pepper.
  2. Heat oil in pan, add in onion, bacon and garlic.  Stir for a while then add in zucchini and cheese.
  3. Stuff the zucchini mixture underneath the skin of the chicken.  Place it onto the baking tray lined with baking paper.  Spread some tomato paste over the skin of the chicken.  Baked in a moderate oven for about 30 minutes, then sprinkle extra cheese over the chicken.  Bake for another 45 minutes or until the chicken is cooked.  To test the chicken is cooked, poke it with a fork, it is done if the juice runs clear.
  4. For the vegetable: Peel and chopped the sweet potato.  Cook it in boiling water until soft.  Mash it with a masher until fine.  Serve it with steamed broccolini and chicken.  
zucchini stuffing

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Mother's Day Special - Chicken Ravioli with Fresh Tomato Sauce

Besides my birthday, I always look forward for Mother's Day as it means breakfast in bed, receiving little presents from the kids and perhaps special dinner.  I had my first breakfast in bed on Mother's Day with a glass of milk and some sweet biscuits.  And it came along with the little present my daughter bought from the school's Mother's Day stall.  Over the years, it got improved to cereal, jam on toast, bacon and eggs and french toast.  Her brother joined in the cooking as he started school and I'd a collection of presents from photo frames, candles, teapots set and a lot of teabags.  One of my favourite and probably the cheapest present is a "Kit for Cheer Up" which is packed with a rubber, a piece of elastic, a ball, a 5c and a candy.  The candy has gone already but I stick the kit next to the computer desk and it makes me smile every time I read it.  It's so true that being a mother, a parent is not an easy job but the joy of seeing the children grow up healthily and happily is the biggest reward.


  1. An eraser to make all those little mistakes go away.
  2. Five cents fo you will never be completely broke.
  3. A marble for those days when you're sure you have lost yours.
  4. Elastic to help you stretch beyond your current limits.
  5. A sweet treat to remind you that someones cares for you.

As chicken is my theme this month, my special for Mother's Day would be a 3 course meal:

entree - chicken ravioli with fresh tomato sauce
main - stuff chicken maryland with vegetables
dessert - chocolate lava cake with raspberry coulis

I haven't made ravioli before, I usually buy the instant one from the supermarket and mixes it with some Italian sauce.  I'm taking the easy way to make it with gow gee pastry for my first trial.   

Chicken Ravioli with Fresh Tomato Sauce
(serve 4)

100g chicken mince
1/2 tablespoon chopped basil
1 1/2  tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
1 shallots, finely chopped
25g ricotta cheese (about 1 heap tablespoon)
32 round gow gee pastry

Tomato Sauce
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 teaspoon garlic mince
1/4 cup tomato paste
1/5 cup red wine
1/2 cup chicken stock
2 tomato chopped
1 tablespoon basil, chopped
shaved parmesan cheese
baby spinach, for garnish


  1. Combine the chicken, basil, parmesan, shallot, ricotta in a bowl, seasoned with salt and pepper.  Lay 16 pieces of gow gee pastry onto the kitchen bench, brush with a little water around the edge. Spoon in a teaspoons of the mixture onto the middle.  Place another pastry on top and press firmly around the edge to seal.
  2. Bring water to boil in a large saucepan, add a bit of oil into the water.  Then add the ravioli a few at a time and cook for 2-3 minutes or until it floats.  Drain and place 4 into each serving plate, serve with tomato sauce and freshly cracked black pepper.  Garnish with shaved parmesan cheese and baby spinach.
  3. To make the sauce: Heat oil in a saucepan, add the onion and garlic, then stir in tomato paste, wine, stock and tomato.  Let the sauce simmer for 20 minutes or until it starts to thicken.  Stir in the basil and season with salt and pepper.
Source: Adopted and modified from the cookbook "Homestyle Chicken" published by Murdoch Books.

cooked ravioli