Donna Hay Wednesday


This week’s theme:   It’s in the Bag: Cooking in Parchment from Kayte.  Evidently Donna doesn’t cook a lot of food in bags at least not in the books I have.  But I did find a couple of ideas on The Splendid Table that looked really good.  Like this one.

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Spiced Chicken

And it was incredibly easy.  Just place some shredded sweet potato on a piece of parchment (making sure it is big enough to fold over all of the food involved) and then on top of that you place a chicken breast.  I didn’t want a big piece of chicken so I cut some strips instead of using a whole breast.  Then you simply sprinkle with a little za’atar, which I was lucky enough to have some in the spice drawer from another recipe.  It’s really not a spice everyone would have in their pantry.  Drizzle the chicken etc with some olive oil and wrap the parchment around it all forming a small bag.  Bake the package for 12 – 15 minutes at 400°F.  Donna suggests serving it with some yogurt and mint leaves.

Okay.  This was good.  Not great, but good.  I only used 1/2 of a large sweet potato.  I should have used the whole potato.  The za’atar is a Middle Eastern mix  of sumac, thyme, whole sesame seeds and salt.  I really liked the flavor it added to the chicken.

The only thing I didn’t like about the dish was all the chicken ‘juice’ and oil that accumulated at the bottom of the package.  I think I will use less olive oil next time, too.

All that being said I will definitely fix this again.  It was tasty.

See more Parchment cooking over at Wednesdays with Donna Hay.

I know I’ve said before that Indian Cuisine is my favorite.  But I have to admit that anything with an Asian flair is right up there, too.  I realize that most of what we get in our local Asian eateries (NOT the buffets) is not as authentic as we would like but I like what is out there – Tiny Spicy Chicken, Mongolian Beef, Chop Suey etc.  Usually what I cook at home is much better.  Like Donna’s Wonton Soup (page 18 modern classics) which fit Chaya’s theme of Super Soups just right.  Light and fresh is perfect for a Spring day (in February).

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Ground pork mixed with green onions, ginger, hoisin sauce and sesame oil stuffed in little wonton wrappers.  Easier than I thought to make.  Cooked in a mix of chicken broth, soy sauce, ginger, and Chinese cooking wine.

I don’t think I’ll be ordering this any more since it is so easy to make at home.

There are more Super Soups on our Wednesdays with Donna Hay site.

We haven’t done sweets in a while with Wednesdays with Donna Hay so this week’s theme – Small Sweet Sensations – was just right.  Course I planned it that way by picking the theme.

Donna’s food-processor cookies were calling my name.  LOUDLY!!

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I’d like to say these were some of the best cookies EVAH! but I cannot.

They were easy to make.  All the ingredients, except the chocolate, in the food processor then add the chocolate chips  M&Ms in a separate bowl.  I found them to be rather tasteless except for the M&Ms.  Oh, well.

The recipe is a short order recipe from Donna’s off the shelf.  Page 160.

Want more sweet treats – Small Sweet Sensations – at Wednesdays with Donna Hay.

Have you visited Wednesdays with Donna Hay lately?  If you haven’t let me tell you – the group has changed.  No longer are we picking a weekly recipe.  We are picking weekly themes.  This week – Baby, It’s Cold Outside  – Kayte’s idea.

When it finally gets cold outside we tend to gravitate toward stews, soups, and gumbos to fill us up and keep us warm.  This week we had all three.  One of them was Donna Hay’s  sweet potato soup.

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Sweet potato combined with ginger, coconut, cumin seeds, and lemon grass.  What a wonderful combination of flavors.  Although the lemon grass didn’t seem to add much to the mix.  Donna’s recipe said to boil the sweet potatoes but I chose to roast them instead.  Lots more sweetness and depth of flavor.  I liked the inclusion of the cumin seeds .  I didn’t like the inclusion of the coriander leaves so I left them out and garnished with some extra cumin seeds instead.  The recipe is in Donna’s the new cook page 68

Warm and filling.  Definitely a repeat as winter continues and the days get colder.

What do the others make when it’s cold outside?  Click on over to Wednesdays with Donna Hay and see.

Several years ago I marked a recipe for this soup that I really wanted to make.  And never did.  In fact I completely forgot about it.  Until I was looking thru Donna’s modern classics.

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Admittedly it’s not the original recipe I found but it was quite tasty.  And filling.  I was so afraid it would be rather bland since the only flavors added were sliced garlic, pepper, and basil leaves but I worried for nothing.

Donna called for wood fired bread, not gonna happen unless I build an outdoor oven, and over ripe tomatoes.  I had some good crusty bread in the freezer and some canned tomatoes.  Since the tomatoes had already been peeled and canned they worked out perfectly.

I only made 1/2 of the recipe but that was enough for 3 nice servings.  Next time I will make more.

Want to see more soup – visit Wednesdays with Donna Hay to see how the others liked my pick for this week.

The recipe is on page 24 of modern classics.  I also found it online if you want to try it out, too.

This week’s choice, from Chaya, is simple and delicious. It’s perfect for just any meal. Breakfast? Yes! Lunch? Definitely! Dinner? Oh, yeah!

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Lots of color with the cherry tomatoes. Lots of flavor with the feta and parsley. Lots of good eats with the eggs and potatoes.

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Thanks, Chaya, for this one. It will show up often in my kitchen.

If you want to try it the recipe is on Donna’s Website. You won’t be sorry.

And if you want to join us cooking with Donna, just leave a comment on our Wednesdays with Donna Hay website.And while you are there check out the other’s frittatas.

Are you tired of the same ol’ same ol’ fried chicken breasts? So was I. So I tried a new recipe from Donna Hay. And I could do that because it is POTLUCK week with I heart cooking clubs. Good idea!

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The chicken is crispy and the coating is similar to a tempura because of the lightness of the rice flour. It’s all good!

    3 chicken breast fillets
    2 egg whites, lightly beaten
    2 tablespoons fine rice flour
    2 red chillies, chopped {or dried red pepper seeds}
    3 tablespoons chopped coriander (cilantro) leaves
    4 kaffir lime leaves, shredded
    3 tablespoons sesame seeds
    2-3 tablespoons peanut oil
    watercress sprigs, to serve

Slice the breast in half into a thinner fillet and then cut those in half. Combine the chicken with the egg whites, chilli, coriander, lime leaves and sesame seeds in a bowl. Heat a frying pan with the oil over medium heat. Dredge the chicken in the flour mixture. Fry until golden and cooked through {about 3 – 5 minutes each side}. Drain on absorbent paper. Serves 4.

Dipping Sauce

    3 tablespoons soy sauce
    2 tablespoons lemon juice
    1 tablespoon brown sugar

Mix the soy, lemon juice and sugar in a bowl and mix to combine.

This is the first time I have used the kaffir lime leaves because this is the first time I have actually found any. Yay me! You can taste lime when you bite into them, DOH! and then the slight bitterness of the fresh coriander. These were really good! Or they would have been if they had had just a little more flavor. I would definitely advise using just a tad of salt to bring out the other flavors.

The original recipe is on page 116 of Donna’s off the shelf and I found it on her website.

What else is for Potluck this week? Check with IHCC.

When it comes to be my turn to pick a recipe for other people I don’t have any easy time of it. Will they like it? Will they have the ingredients? Will I like it? I’m sure it is that way for all of us. I usually end up picking something out of the box for me – like this dish filled with Ricotta of which I am NOT a fan. But I know other people like it.

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An eggplant dish filled with ricotta and Parmesan cheese, basil, and cream. And I would like to say I ended up liking it, but I didn’t. I just cannot like ricotta. I have tried. Lots of times, but…..NOPE!!

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I would have liked to see thicker slices of eggplant and less ricotta in this layered lasagna like dish. But that’s just me.

I do so hope the other WWDH members liked it. OR least more than I did.

You can find out by visiting our website – Wednesdays with Donna Hay. And you can find the recipe on Donna’s website.

Want to join in the fun. The recipes/books/websites are listed on the right. Just cook/bake, blog, and leave a comment. Love to have you.

Fish is one of my favorite foods to cook. Any kind of fish. Salmon, Snapper, Bass, Trout, Catfish. We love it all. One type of fish I have never cooked, and only eaten once about 40 years ago, is Swordfish. It is an oily fish and the meat is usually sold as large steaks. The meat is pretty firm, and can be cooked in ways more fragile types of fish cannot. I wish I could have found some for this Donna Hay dish but it was not to be (remember I live in Podunk) so I ended up using some nice Catfish Fillets. Catfish is also a little oily, is quite firm and very mild so it was a good sub for the swordfish since it also tends to take on the flavors of whatever it is seasoned with.

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Cooked in a skillet with coconut milk, red curry paste, and lemon grass, it is quite flavorful. The basil and lime juice added to the sauce provided another layer of flavor. I served it with a little Basmati rice and lots of sauce {I always make more than called for.} I quite liked this and am glad I have leftovers. I just wish I could have scored some swordfish. THAT would have been wonderful!!

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Check on our Website – Wednesdays with Donna Hay – and see who managed to find some swordfish and who subbed something else.

And if you would like to join us we would love to have you. The recipes, through November, are listed on the right. Just cook, blog, share. And if you want to join the line up we would be glad to provide a time slot for you.

Potluck week at I Heart Cooking Clubs means we can make any recipe we want from any past, or present, chef we choose. I like that. It means that if there was a recipe in the past that didn’t fit a theme and you REALLY wanted to make it, or you just found a new one you really like, you can make it now. Excellent!!

So for this week’s potluck I went with Donna Hay and the Chocolate Pear Cake from my new book, FLAVOURS.

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It is exactly what it says it is – a chocolate cake topped with pear halves that have been cooked in butter and brown sugar.

    80g (2 3/4 oz) butter
    2/3 cup brown sugar
    2 tablespoons water
    4 small small pears, peeled, halved and cored
    CAKE:
    185g (6 oz) butter
    1 1/2 cups brown sugar
    3 eggs
    2 cups self-raising (self-rising) flour
    1J3 cup cocoa powder

Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F). In a skillet mix the butter brown sugar and water and heat until the butter has melted. Add the pears to the pan, cut-side down, and cook for about 2 minutes. {I cooked mine longer because they were larger and just off the tree.}
Place the pears, cut-side down, in a 23cm (9 inch) round cake tin that has been side- and base-lined with non-stick baking paper. Pour the syrup from the skillet over the pears.

CAKE:
Mix the butter and brown sugar until fluffy.
Add the eggs one at a time and beat well.
Sift the flour and cocoa over the mixture and stir through.
Carefully spread the cake mixture over the pears in the cake pan.
Bake for 50-60 minutes or until cooked when tested with a skewer.
Cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then invert onto a serving plate and serve the cake in wedges with cream.
Serves 8-10. {Recipe is on page 116 of Flavours}

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I would advise checking the cake before the lower end of the required cooking time. Mine was a little dry. Tasty, but dry. The Hubs liked the pears. Me, not so much.

Want more potluck? Then visit us at IHCC for a buffet of goodness.

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