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Honey Mustard Chicken Drumsticks

August 22nd, 2010 by Mrs Neurotic



Who doesn’t love a good easy homemade marinade? We never buy the stuff in the jar for two reasons it’s expensive and when we do decide to marinade it’s generally a last minute decision so I want to know I can make an awesome marinade out of the ingredients I have in the cupboard. This is one of those recipes. It works great with any cut of chicken, we’ve done it with pieces, wings, breast and thigh. One day I’d love to do a whole chicken and see how it goes.


This is an old favourite in our house. We tend to do it in summer, but yesterday morning upon looking in my freezer I decided to use some drumsticks for last nights dinner and after all this dreary weather we’ve had lately I needed a little reminder of the warmer months. The recipe is tweaked slightly from a recipe from a Cookbook I have called “BBQ Food for Friends” By Jane Lawson and Vanessa Broadfoot. It’s a great book and if you don’t have it I highly recommend it!



Honey Mustard Chicken Drumsticks


Ingredients:


2 kg Chicken Pieces w/bone or 1 kg of Boneless Chicken Pieces

1/2 Cup Honey

1 Tbsp Dijon Mustard

1 Tbsp Wholegrain Mustard

2 Tbsp Vegetable Oil (don’t use olive oil if using the BBQ but you can if baking)

2 Tbsp Tarragon Vinegar (if you don’t have Tarragon Vinegar then please substitute with White Wine Vinegar)

A good handful of Fresh Parsley Chopped (You can use dried if you don’t have fresh, about 2 Tbsps)

1 Tbsp minced garlic (or 3 cloves minced)


Method:


Whisk all the ingredients together and reserve a small amount of marinade for basting (about 1/3 cup).

Place the chicken and the marinade in a large zip lock bag. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours, but if you can overnight is best.

If you are cooking these on the BBQ please take note…I tend to cook them with the hood down, the outside burners on high and the burners directly above the chicken on low, and if I find they are getting too dark I’ll actually turn them off and use the indirect heat to cook them completely. They take about 20-30 minutes to completely cook through, just check the meat closest to the bone before serving. And please make sure you baste before turning as this really helps with the flavour and keeps the meat moist.

Like the book suggests we tend to serve this chicken with Spring Onion Mash, but I have also made these at a bbq and bite size thigh pieces go great in a salad. So really whatever you like to serve.



Now this photo isn’t mine. It’s from the aforementioned cookbook. I do have a photo, however, it seems somebody was a little overzealous with the bbq’ing process last night and even though they tasted awesome they weren’t very hmmm shall we say photogenic. Not unless you like the charred look. [Glares lovingly towards Mr Neurotic] I mean my camera is good, but not even photoshop is that good.



As for Marinades… I have quite a little recipe collection going so I’ll be sure to post more soon…




Fresh Herbs – My new babies!

August 20th, 2010 by Mrs Neurotic



Following on from the Rose Experiment I thought I’d share with you my new babies.



Yesterday I went to buy some potted herbs. I had already started my herb collection with a pot of Mint that my lovely girlfriend gave me. And it now share’s it’s pot with some Continental Parsley that decided to take up residence there.


Yesterday I went to visit my plant man. He has a house locally and has created a Nursery out of his entire property, front and back. It’s the most amazing place. I’ll have to take photo’s one day. He’s a little bit quirky and likes to call my son Samuel – which is not his name by the way. But that’s ok he is very lovely and he always has interesting stories to tell me. Ok by interesting I probably mean strange… but he is lovely! I’ve looked for his secret stash of “plants” but I think he hides them well. Did I mention he was lovely?


I was able to purchase 6 little pots of herbs for $12! What a bargain! If you think about it, you buy dried herbs for often more than that, not to mention how expensive fresh herbs are by the bunch.┬áThese little babies should give you an abundance of herbs if you can look after them properly. I hope I can…


Now due to my black thumb, I’ll be having an indoor herbary. I have a perfect little spot that gets lots of sunlight and is protected from the harshness of the outdoors. Indoor plants need a lot more work than outdoor herbs. But if you’re someone like me that forgets things if you can’t see them indoors is the way to go. They need to be watered daily, and a handful of compost every couple of months around the base of the plant is enough to keep it happy. Make sure the plants are situated in a sunny part of the house. As the plants get bigger you may need to seperate them into other pots, but I think of this as a great opportunity to share my herbs amongst friends and family.


The herbs I chose yesterday are…. (Yes these could have been in alphabetical order if I had thought of it. But I hadn’t. And quite frankly I can’t be bothered rearranging it now so deal with it.)



Sage – Wonderful with Chicken & Pumpkin. Sage butter is very yummy under the skin of a whole chicken and roasted.



Thyme – Probably one of the herbs I use the most, I use it in stock, sauces, casseroles and roasts.



Chives – Really good in Mashed potato (Chive Mash is also known as Champ), White sauce, Egg Salad or Potato Salad…



Rosemary - Another one of my favourite herbs. We use these in Potatoes all the time, as well as Lamb, Chicken dishes. Another fave of mine is Rosemary & Parmesan wafers.



Oregano – Excellent in Pasta sauces, good for adding to marinades.



Garlic Chives – I tend to use this in Asian cooking more than anything else. It’s also great in dumplings and broths.



In a couple of weeks when spring hits I’ll grab some Basil and that should do me.


I love plants that give me food. In our backyard we have a Bay Tree and a Lemon Tree… and now with all my fresh herbs I will be one happy cook! And hopefully that should translate to lots more recipes for you guys…


Over the next few weeks and months I’ll be updating you with the progress of my babies… so please think green thoughts for me. If not for me… for them.


To add to the pressure I have made a bet with a woman that I can’t keep these alive… and she’s mean and nasty so we don’t want her to win. Besides I like my first born child and really don’t want to have to part with her.


Do you have fresh herbs? Any favourites? Indoors or Outdoors? What do you use them for?



The Rose Experiment

August 19th, 2010 by Mrs Neurotic


No, I haven’t been channeling Morticia Addams.



But I am trying to grow my own rose bush from a long stem rose leftover from a dozen long stem roses that the lovely Mr Neurotic gave me on Bastille Day.

It actually happened by accident. My daughter asked for one of the roses to keep in her room, about a week later she decided it needed some sunlight. And me being the great housekeeper that I can be left it for a while. Miss Pepper continued to change the water and care for her little rose. And as much as I’d like to say her love made it grow… apparently this is how you grow a bush from a clipping. So first it started sprouting leaves, and then these leaves turned into tiny little branches…



And then the roots started growing…



So even though it’s said I don’t possess a green thumb, in fact it’s rather on the black side, I’m going to give this Rose Experiment a good go. As soon as that root grows a little more I’m going to transfer to a nice pot with some luscious soil and keep inside till the middle of spring (so not to shock the poor little thing to death) and fingers crossed I’ll succeed in growing a nice rose bush from a clipping.


Wish me luck… I could need it.

Wrinkles? What Wrinkles?

August 16th, 2010 by Mrs Neurotic



I do not iron.



I detest the notion.


My eldest didn’t know what an iron was till she saw a friend ironing her clothes. My youngest still doesn’t know. I just asked him what an iron was. And his reply? “You mean like Ironman?” Um no. Bless.


But I know I’m not alone. I have more friends that don’t iron than those that do. Yes we are beginning to take over the world one wrinkly shirt at a time. But y’know I don’t actually have wrinkly clothes. I find you can get away with it by taking the items straight out of the dryer whilst warm. And second to that I purposely only purchase clothing that doesn’t require ironing. Yes some people may look for how synthetic the fabric is. Whilst others might look for the low flammable items. I look for this.



Now I can hear all the ironers out there shrieking in horror especially one of my best buds who… wait for it… irons her PJ’s. Coz y’know you have got to look your best for bed right? In her defense I know she hates ironing and blames her mother for her need to press. And she assures me freshly ironed bedclothes feel fantastic. But I just don’t see the point. Besides that I was shackled to the ironing board as a wee tacker to iron tea towels and hankies… so I flatly refuse to pick up an iron unless I absolutely must.



And I do laugh at how serious some ironers take themselves. I recall a gf of mine telling me how she had mentioned in a group of ironers that she did not, and she could feel the questionable stares from them all trying to sniff out that single wrinkle upon her attire.


And then… I find this:


This is Bill, he takes part in “Extreme Ironing” and in this photo you can see him enjoying a well pressed shirt on the summit of Mt. Rainier. Nice one Bill. I’m sure you’re a hit with the ladies. And I think this would be the only way you could possibly get me to enjoy ironing.



Yeah, I know I’ve been boring.

August 16th, 2010 by Mrs Neurotic

But… well… the contents of my fridge and cupboard are very important ok? And eventually I will get to the spices and herbs. And don’t forget my baking box, which is filled with all sorts of necessary items to be the perfect Domestic Goddess. That is, by Nigella’s standards. Which leads me to think is Nigella really a Domestic Goddess? I’ve never seen her do anything but cook? I mean does she clean? Does she darn? Surely a domestic goddess must be the jack of all trades?



Anyway tomorrow… I will post a confession… a true confession from the heart. And hopefully it will alleviate you all from the boredom you have suffered due to the blog posts I’ve pumped out lately.


In the meantime go eat some leftovers out of the fridge with the lights off and pretend to be Nigella… bask in the glow of the fridge light and eat like you’re in a porno. Only once you have done this can you really call yourself a Domestic Goddess.

What’s in my fridge?

August 12th, 2010 by Mrs Neurotic
Following on from “What’s in my Cupboard?” …
  • Milk – Duh
  • Cheddar Cheese – We have slices and grated (although that lives in the freezer)
  • Parmesan Cheese – An absolute MUST
  • Cream – I buy 600ml bottles and keep at least 2 in the fridge at all times.
  • Sour Cream – It’s not really a must if you’re desperate you can use cream and lemon juice/vinegar but it does come in handy!
  • Cream Cheese – Great for baking, mashed potato and don’t forget it’s great on bagels ;) And it lasts a while unopened.
  • Jalapenos – I love Mexican. Need I say more?
  • Ketchup – Notice I didn’t say Tom sauce? No we buy Ketchup.
  • Anchovies – I’m not a big fan of anchovies, but I do like them melted in oil with sliced garlic and used to flavour a pasta sauce. Not to mention my fave pea dish.
  • Fruit Conserves (Jam, Jelly… whatever floats your boat) – Besides spreading on hot crumpets, it’s great to stir through natural yoghurt, or dollop on top of butter cookies or even for scones w/jam and cream (notice I have the ingredients for devonshire tea at all times!)
  • 2 Kg Tub of Natural Yoghurt – Great for cooking, for eating and marinading. My life changed the second I started buying it in bulk.
  • Fruit Juice – We buy apple juice for Bircher Muesli, it’s a great sugar shot when you’re feeling low but it’s not something that we feed our kids because it’s “healthy” because lets face it… it’s not.
  • At least 3 blocks of unsalted butter at any given time – Call me crazy but after I’ve finished making 60 cupcakes and frosting I am practically half way through it.
  • Around 1-2 dozen eggs at any given time – Omlettes, Fried Rice, Quiche, Scrambled Eggs, Mayo/Bernaise/Hollondaise, Carbonara, any baked goods, Meringue, Pancakes… c’mon who doesn’t know what an egg is good for!
  • Mayonnaise – Not just a spread. Great for making dips, or for using as a binder for bread crumbs (get yourself 1/2 cup may 1 tbsp basil pesto and coat 500gms of chicken breast cut into nugget size then coat with some bread crumbs mixed with parmesan and bake in a hot oven till golden and cooked and you’ve got some AWESOME quick and easy chicken nuggets). Do not buy anything other than whole egg mayo… or I may have to hunt you down. Mayo is NOT supposed to be sweet.
  • Mustard – Dijon, Seeded and American. Dijon is great for marinades, Seeded is great for creamy pasta sauces (or even adding to mash!), American I use in my Potato Salad… strange I know but it is awesome. And everyone knows how awesome any mustard is with ham… right?
  • Minced Garlic – Yes it’s good to have fresh… but it’s very handy to have it on hand anytime too.
  • Minced Ginger – See above.


Ok that’s all for now… I may update this as my brain remembers more…


What’s in my cupboard?

August 11th, 2010 by Mrs Neurotic


Everyone talks about the movement away from packet foods, yet a lot of people are scared when they look at recipes that have 10 ingredients.


One thing you’ll find if you come to my house is a well stocked pantry, fridge and freezer. But is it stocked with packet mixes? Pre packaged foods? No. It’s stocked with staples. All the things I’ll need to keep us going without dashing backwards and forwards to the shop for every meal I decide to make. I rarely need ingredients. And when I shop I restock or I might buy a few things I might need for a certain recipe that I don’t make too often.


What you will find in my pantry:


  • A large range of herbs and spices. From Coriander Seed to Cinnamon with some Star Anise in between (I will post later about my Dried Herbs & Spices collection).
  • Tomato Paste
  • Tinned Tomatoes (these can be used for casseroles, pastas sauces, soups, salsas etc)
  • Passata (for bolognaise or to use as a pizza sauce if you can’t be bothered blitzing some tinned tomatoes)
  • Sweetened Condensed Milk (for baking)
  • Tuna (we have small tins and large tins, I always buy it in springwater, and it is the meat on hand when you have nothing defrosted!)
  • Rice, we have 4 kinds at the moment – Basmati, Aborio, Jasmine and a regular Medium Grain for Turkish Pilav.
  • Flour – Self Raising, Plain, Strong White (for Pizza & Bread), Pasta & Noodle Flour, Cake Flour, Corn Flour. Now you don’t need to have all these flours, you can get away with Self Raising and Plain, but always keep check of stock.
  • Dried Noodles/Pasta – Spirals, Spaghetti, Fettucini, Penne, Gnocchi and sometimes soba noodles or some sort of asian noodle for stir fries and soups.
  • Polenta
  • Oats
  • Yeast – We have the dry active yeast sachets as I find these last longer than the canisters that need to be refrigerated.
  • Oils – Extra Virgin Olive OIl, Vegetable Oil (for frying), Olive Oil Spray, Canola Oil Spray, Sesame Oil, Peanut Oil (for stir fry), A good Olive Oil for Salads, Truffle Oil (it doesn’t have to be expensive and it lasts a long time! Great for eggs, risotto and mash not to mention salad dressings!)
  • Vinegars – white vinegar (great for cleaning and marinades), White Wine Vinegar, Red Wine Vinegar, Balsamic Vinegar
  • Soy Sauce
  • Kecap Manis (ABC Sauce it’s affectionately known as or Sweet Soy) – It’s a sweet thick soy.
  • Fish Sauce
  • Sweet Chili Sauce
  • Dry Sherry (or Shaoxing wine) for asian cooking
  • A Good Dry Vermouth (To quote Julia Child a good Dry Vermouth is better than cooking with a bad white wine) you will always have consistantly good results and it lasts forever.
  • Chocolate – I actually have 2 baking boxes, one for bits and bobs like colourings, gels, patty cases, decorations etc and one for Chocolate. I will have chocolate buds in milk, white and dark as well as the blocks that I keep especially for cooking. They aren’t necessarily cooking chocolate (YUCK!) but it’s not allowed to be “eaten” unless I am baking with it.
  • Cocoa an absolute must.
  • Sugars – I have white sugar, castor sugar, pure icing sugar (please stay clear of that “mix” stuff!), dark brown sugar, light brown sugar.
  • Golden Syrup
  • Honey
  • Salt – I know salt is salt right? No. Wrong. I have maldon and regular table salt as well as grinder salt.
  • Pepper – Same again, I have whole peppercorns, white pepper (for asian cooking), ground pepper.
  • Bicarb
  • Baking Powder
  • Custard Powder
  • Vegetarian/MSG/Preservative Free/Gluten Free Stock Powders – Yes we all should make our own stock and I do. But sometimes you need powdered stock. I have Chicken, Vegetable and Beef on hand at all times.
  • Dried Mushrooms like Porcini or Shitake (Great for when you’re at the end of your shopping week and you need some extra flavour in that sauce or risotto)
  • Tinned Fruit – Apples, Apricots, Peaches, Pears, Pineapple sometimes even Blueberries.


Next I’ll let you know what’s in my fridge…


Got a tip? I have a few…

August 10th, 2010 by Mrs Neurotic


So have you ever wondered how to remove the fat from a stock or casserole without skimming with a spoon?


Photo: Fine Cooking


How to fix mayonaise that has split?


Photo: Delicious Mag UK


How to fix chocolate that has seperated?


Photo: Australian Academy of Science


How to rid that rust from a pan?


Photo: Dinosaurs & Robots


I have a few tips. Quite a few actually. And I’m going to share them with you. Every Tuesday. Aren’t I nice?



Did I mention what we do with leftovers?

August 2nd, 2010 by Mrs Neurotic


Ok so following on from this post…


This is what we do with our leftovers:



Now that’s not my photo*, but I had to set the scene right? Salivating yet?┬áMine looks way better and next time I’ll actually take a photo of it.


In order to make the perfect Roast & Gravy Roll you need:


Leftover Roast Meat

Leftover Gravy

Fresh Light Fluffy Rolls


What I do is chop the meat to bite size pieces. There is nothing worse than biting into a roast & gravy roll and half the filling comes out! Then reheat the gravy and once it’s nice and bubbly add the meat and simmer until the meat is cooked and juicy. Then divide amongst the rolls. You can thank me, or kill me, later.


And yes, I do realise I haven’t posted recipes yet. Soon… I promise.


*And I would link to it, but unfortunately the link is broke.



Sunday Roast

August 1st, 2010 by Mrs Neurotic

A very Australian tradition is the Sunday Roast. And no I’m not talking about Nicole and Keith’s little one. One of our very British traditions that we haven’t been able to shake. And I am very grateful.


There is nothing better than to end the week with an awesome roast dinner. And I would have to say next to Steak and a mean Curry it’s up there as one of Mr Neurotic’s favourite meals.


A roast in our house usually consists of a roast hunk of meat. Our faves are Roast Chicken and Roast Pork. Then you’ll have a nice starchy side of Potatoes. Some of our faves are Duck Fat Potatoes, Pan Fried Crispy Garlic & Rosemary Potatoes or The Pioneer Woman’s Creamy Mashed Potatoes. And then there’s the veg usually in the Neurotic household it’s Braised Anchovy Peas. Sounds scary but I promise you that you haven’t lived until you have had these peas. FYI I hate peas. But I love these peas.


So who started the tradition? Well according to Wikipedia:


Sunday Roast dates back to when the squire would treat his serfs to a meal of roast oxen every Sunday to reward them for the week’s work.


A reward hey? I definitely think what I cooked tonight was a reward… or maybe I’m the one who deserves a reward for the awesome dinner… hmmm.


So tonight we had Pastor Ryan’s Herb Chicken, my way. The Pioneer Woman’s Creamy Mashed Potato and Braised Anchovy Peas. Recipes to come. For now, try and keep your saliva off the keyboard.



And tell me do you follow the Sunday Roast tradition?

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