Roast Chicken with Garlic, Sage and Thyme

Roast Chicken with Garlic, Sage and Thyme

Everybody loves a good homemade roast chicken! Well maybe the vegans and vegetarians don’t… but everyone else loves a homemade roast chicken! I love the simplicity, ease and minimal cost that comes with such a delicious and soul satisfying meal. I also love that my whole family enjoys sitting down and sharing a lovely roast chicken. It makes an ideal toddler dinner and is wonderful for baby led weaning too.

My Roast Chicken with Garlic, Sage and Thyme was just what the doctor ordered today after a day at work, a toddler who hadn’t slept, plus minimal supplies in the fridge and pantry. Hello trusty garlic and home grown herbs! A few minutes chopping and prepping and you will have a wonderful meal in the oven. You can then spend the next hour that it’s cooking catching your breath, enjoying a hot cup of tea (put Play School on, seriously) or getting some odd jobs done (that cup of tea is looking mighty fine).

Roast Chicken Possum

The wonderful thing with Roast Chicken is that the story doesn’t end at that first meal. Leftovers can be used to make:

  • freezable sandwiches for work and school lunches. Simply put chicken and mayonnaise on a sandwich, wrap in Cling Wrap then freeze. On the day you want one, take it out and let thaw in your bag. By lunch it will be perfect!
  • healthy and delicious homemade chicken stock
  • kid friendly Chicken Noodle Soup

Roast Chicken with Garlic, Sage and Thyme – serves 4

1 1-1.5kg chicken (preferable free range or organic)

3-10 cloves of garlic, peeled (depending on how much you love it!)

5 fresh sage leaves finely chopped

a few sprigs of fresh thyme

salt and pepper

extra virgin olive oil

1 leek (secret ingredient!), sliced and rinsed

3 medium potatoes, washed, cut into wedges

1 medium sweet potato, washed, cut into chunks or wedges

1. Preheat oven to 200°C.

2. Slice your leek and rinse in a colander under running water. This is very important as the many layers of a leek hide a lot of dirt and grit. Place sliced leek in a large roasting pan.

3. Rinse and pat dry the chicken. Place chicken on top of the sliced leek.

4. Place desired number of garlic cloves in the cavity and you can also pierce the flesh and push the bulbs into the chicken itself. I also like to cut one clove in half and rub it over the skin.

5. Place your chopped vegetables around the chicken.

6. Drizzle both chicken and vegetables with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place herbs over the top of the chicken.

7. Place roasting pan in the oven to roast for 25 minutes per 500g of chicken. I had a 1.4kg chicken and roasting for 1h 15 minutes.

8. Now for the hot tip… When you take the chicken out of the oven, place it upside down either in the pan or on a plate to rest, covered in foil. This allows all the lovely juices to run back into the chicken breasts and keep them lovely and moist. Allow to rest for 10 minutes before serving up.

Serve your delicious Roast Chicken with Garlic, Sage and Thyme with the roasted potatoes, sweet potatoes and some steamed vegetables (Possum loves her carrots and broccoli). Nom nom nom.

roast chicken

***Want something delicious for dessert? Check out my Egg Free Spiced Pear Cake.

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Pumpkin Buttermilk Scones

Pumpkin Buttermilk Scones

After Mother’s Day on Sunday you may have some roast pumpkin swimming around in your fridge. Or maybe you totally forgot Mother’s Day and are looking for a way to make it up to the person who gave you life! Either way, these  Pumpkin Buttermilk Scones are delicious!

Mother’s Day was a bit of a non event in our house. Legoman went to work and Possum and I went to a birthday party. I did get to stay in bed an extra 30 minutes and we had croissants for breakfast. Win! Possum gave me a very sweet book called I Love You Mummy and Legoman gave me/us welding gloves, a small shovel and a metal bucket. Romance hey! The romantic thing is that they are all used with our fire place, and they have already been put to good use.

The scones were made for the birthday party Possum and I went to, which was a combined 2nd birthday party for Possum and a few of her little buddies. We had such an amazing afternoon on a friend’s property in the Kanimbla Valley. Amazing views, a beautiful large creek, heaps of space for happy toddlers plus we even all chipped in and got a jumping castle. Needless to say poor Possum was beyond tired by the time we got home.  And the scones were a success!

These Pumpkin Buttermilk Scones are great for kids as they are low in sugar and actually have some veg in them. If you like you could play around with the buttermilk and pumpkin ratios if you want more pumpkin in there. Possum and I just had to do some quality control when they came out of the oven! Yummo!

Pumpkin Buttermilk Scones – makes 12-15

2 cups self raising flour

1 Tbsp caster sugar

pinch salt

60g butter chilled and chopped

3/4 cup buttermilk

freshly grated nutmeg ~1/4 tsp

1/3 cup roasted pumpkin

extra buttermilk for brushing

Preheat oven to 220°C standard/200°C fan forced. Line a baking tray with baking paper.

Add flour, nutmeg, sugar and salt into a large mixing bowl. Combine. Using your hands, rub the butter into the flour until the mix resembles fine bread crumbs (I used to love doing this as a kid growing up).

Make a well into the centre of mix. Add buttermilk and pumpkin. Use a butter knife to combine until it forms a sticky dough. Turn out onto a floured surface (also put a little flour on your hands). Knead gently until smooth.

Press out the dough until ~2cm thick. You can either cut into desired number of scones or use a cutter to make shapes (I did love hearts, surprise surprise!). Place the scones on the baking tray so that they are just touching. Brush the tops with some buttermilk.

Bake in the top half of the oven for 12-15 minutes or until golden.

Serve with butter, ricotta or even mascarpone for a special touch of yum!

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Egg Free and Gluten Free Corn Fritters

Egg Free and Gluten Free Corn Fritters

I love me a good brunch. Sadly Legoman thinks it’s a waste of time. And with a toddler and conflicting work schedules it’s a rare treat. I always, always, always order corn fritters when they are on a menu. Especially if they come with avocado and bacon…. mmmmmm… bacon. I was flicking through my recipe folder and got pretty excited to find a corn fritter recipe with no egg!!

I modified it slightly to try and make it more kiddie friendly (less spices), sadly Possum still wasn’t keen on them tonight but was happy to gobble up close to a whole avocado and a bucket of yoghurt. Legoman on the other hand said it was a keeper.

I chose to make mine little hand size to make for easy dipping, but you can also make them more grown up sized. I reckon they would be even tastier with a little salsa of some kind on the side. Something a little sweet and a little zingy!

Egg Free and Gluten Free Corn Fritters with Mint Yoghurt and Avocado – serves 4

120g chickpea (besan) flour

1/2 tsp baking powder

1 1/2 tsp ground cumin

1 1/2 tsp ground coriander

1/2 tsp ground turmeric

pinch of salt

200g frozen or fresh corn kernels (don’t need to defrost)

3 spring onions, trimmed and finely chopped

A big handful or coriander, roughly chopped

160ml full fat milk or water (I reckon coconut milk would rock too)

Sunflower oil for frying 

1-2 Tbsp chopped mint

salt and pepper to taste

1/2 cup yoghurt (plain full fat)

1 ripe avocado (or more if you love your avo!)

First make up the yoghurt by combining yoghurt, mint, salt and pepper in a bowl. Set aside.

Sift dry ingredients into a bowl. Mix in corn, spring onions and coriander. Stir in milk.

Heat 1cm of oil in frying pan to medium high heat. Use a heaped teaspoon amount per fritter, making sure not to over crowd the pan. Cook until golden brown on each side (I left the first batch a little too long and they looked a bit like those old ladies at the beach who could be made into handbags). Remove and drain on paper towel. Keep fritters warm in the oven while you cook the rest.

Serve these Egg Free and Gluten Free Corn Fritters with yoghurt and slices of avocado. Yum!

Corn Fritters

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Toddler Cooking Adventures!

quick and easy microwave popcorn

It’s all been feeling a bit like Noah’s ark at the moment. Crazy rain and wind throughout our state for days on end. Weather like this makes me want to crawl under a blanket, eat lots of food, drink hot chocolate and binge on TV series on DVDs. Alas being the mother of a toddler, this scenario pans out a little differently…. “mummy! mummy! mummy! I want to watch a mooooooovie!! mummy! moooooovie!” normally this has started at about 8:30 in the morning. Depending on my level of sleep, patience and general awesomeness I can sometimes hold out until about 3pm. Then it is not just a movie, but popcorn and movie time! For Possum AND mummy 🙂

Possum has been really enjoying getting into the kitchen lately and pretending to cook constantly. Making microwave popcorn from scratch has been a really fun, simple and easy way to include her in the kitchen as well as make a super tasty and reasonably healthy snack for the two of us to share.

Here is how to make it! What movie will you be watching? Our favourites are Madagascar Two (Possum calls it Lion Movie), Ratatouille (Rat Movie) and Rio 2 (Rio Movie).

Easy Microwave Popcorn – serves 4

1/3 cup popping corn

a decent chunk of butter

a shake of salt

Melt the butter in a large microwave safe bowl (I use my Pyrex mixing bowl) for around 30 seconds in the microwave, making sure you have a cover over the bowl. Take bowl out of the microwave, add your salt and popping corn (this is Possum’s job). Stir to combine (also Possum’s job).

Possum's cooking adventures

Possum’s cooking adventures

Stir stir stir

Stir stir stir

Place bowl and cover in the microwave for 3 minutes 20 seconds for a 1000W microwave.

Don't forget the cover!!!

Don’t forget the cover!!!

Stay close by to listen for when the pops slow down. Take your delicious hot bowl of buttery popcorn out of the microwave using oven mitts. Divide among movie watchers or share from one big (but still hot so be careful!) bowl. Yummmmmmmmmmmmmmm!

Delicious hot popcorn!!

Delicious hot popcorn!!

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You gotta know when to hold ’em

If you’ve got any style or class, I’d like to think the title of this post was sung in your head. And just kept going with the rest of the song! I have fond memories of playing poker as a teenager with my then boyfriend and his mates. They all tended to drink a lot of beer, at that age I hardly drank at all. This was my secret weapon. Play safe until they all get totally drunk then take them all to the cleaners! Booya! Unfortunately we were all so poor (we were only 18) that we never bet with real money, just their parents shrapnel bowl (coin collection, not actual shrapnel. That would be deeply disturbing.). Otherwise I could be driving something a bit more swanky than a Honda Jazz….

And what does poker have to do with baby led weaning and meal planning??

Well tonight’s delicious meal is Leon’s Poker Night Chilli. Taken from the 4th book in the Leon Restaurant cookbook collection (I am missing only one, hint hint Legoman). If you are a new here, I love Leon. If you’re a more frequent reader, nothing new.

Leon: Family and Friends, Book 4

Leon: Family and Friends, Book 4

Legoman has told me which meals don’t really tickle his fancy… minestrone soup, chilli con carne, most meals without meat. I am pleased to report that when I made this for the second time in a week Legoman was delightfully happy and stated “Is that what you made the other night? I really like that one. Like, a lot.”.

So do click on the link for the recipe and have an equally happy husband in your house too!

Leon’s Poker Night Chilli

Affordability : EXCELLENT. For a meal super high in protein, this can be made very cheaply. Beef mince comes in differing quality/cost levels and is often in the clearance section at my local Woolies. You could easily make a double batch for under $15.

Time Factor : MODERATE. Prep takes about 10 minutes and cooking takes about 50 minutes from start to finish. My one gripe about the printed recipe is that up the top where it states number of serves, prep time and cook time, it states the cooking time is 10 minutes. But then the recipe says “simmer on low for 30-40 minutes”. Fail. I think it’s the Virgo in me that gets really irked by mistakes like that.

Complexity : LOW. Lovely and straight forward. The second time I made this, I hardly looked at the recipe. That, is a good recipe.

Deliciousness : EXCELLENT. Lacks vegetables, but that is half the joy. The other half is the Mt Everest pile of cheese on top. Mmmmmmmmmmm. One little hint would be to brown off your mince well. And don’t scrimp on the simmer time, let it thicken up nicely.

Mess : LOW. One pot wonder. First night I used a saucepan, second night I used a large frypan. Both worked very well.

Tummy Filling Factor : EXCELLENT. Try and not be full after a big bowl of meat, beans, rice and cheese. I dare you. Double dare even.

Possum Friendly? YES. An excellent meal for a bub with a pincer grasp. It’s a shame that Possum has totally shunned mince meat. She did put some in her mouth the second night. I held my breath. 5 seconds later it was spat out. Baby steps. She did eat about 6 red kidney beans out of the tin while we were cooking. But then refused to eat any in the actual meal.

Would I make it again? Yes, this is saved in the go to list in my head as it uses easily accessible ingredients, most of which are in my cupboard as a state of permanency.

Leon's Poker Night Chilli

Leon’s Poker Night Chilli

And I just want to make a little shout out for The Australian Climbing Festival which is going to be held in the Blue Mountains next weekend. Another great reason to come visit the Blue Mountains!!

Giant Snowflakes!!!!!!!!!!!!

I love snow 🙂

I really truly do. Ask Legoman and he will tell you I turn into a crazy lady as soon as it starts to snow. And it’s snowed twice this week!!!! TWICE!!! 😀

Today started with beautiful wintery bright blue skies and by the afternoon big fat juicy snowflakes were coming down all around!! Possum and I sat by the back door to watch them for however long it was that they fell for. Bliss 🙂

I’m hoping this is a good sign of even more snow to come this winter. Fingers and toes are crossed.

I love snow 🙂

Anyhoo, food… Tonight I made a pasta dish with an actual recipe. Highly unusual behaviour. Normally it is grab whatever is going funky in the fridge, combine with tinned tomatoes and loads of garlic. And if it tastes… interesting, then you can smother it in cheese. But tonight I thought I would challenge my pasta making abilities with Lamb, Bean and Pea pasta from Cuisine Magazine. It seemed like a good way to hide little bite size pieces of meat, legume and vegetable so that our newly fussy toddler actually gets some nutrients into her apart from grapes and mushrooms (her two food obsessions at the moment).

Turns out her vegetable seeking abilities are better than an over enthusiastic sniffer dog and her oral dexterity means she can eat the pasta whilst spitting out any meat, veg or legume you’ve tried to hide in said pasta. Quite amazing really. Leaves tying a jelly snake in a knot for dead if you ask me. Though the win for tonight were the green peas. After a bit of coaxing and being force fed green peas by Possum, she finally thought she would try one for herself. The usual face squirm was the initial response followed by about 20 peas being individually shovelled (can you shovel a single green pea??) into her mouth. Hurray!! She ate multiple green things!!!

She also ate two mouthfuls of some Chicken (and cannellini bean and sweet potato) nuggets I also made today. All that effort for two bites. She has to be the only person who can walk away from Panko breadcrumbs. Seriously.

In other news, I have managed to get Possum up on my back using our woven wrap twice today! And she stayed put, no sliding out the bottom!! I honestly don’t know what I would do without baby wearing. You can get so much more done and bub is happy to be part of whatever it is you need to do. Win Win. If you want to have a look at some great wraps, check out this local business… Frangipani Baby.

Vietnamese Chicken Curry

Affordability : EXCELLENT. Makes use of pantry and freezer staples with the help of a handful of homegrown mint (one of the few things I can successfully grow).

Time Factor : EXCELLENT. Dinner ready in 20 minutes. The only chopping you have to do is one garlic clove and a handful of mint leaves. Super easy!

Complexity : LOW. Even easier than spag bol!

Deliciousness : LOW-MODERATE. I wasn’t a huge fan but Legoman liked it. Possum liked the peas, which made me happy. The pine nuts are a must (I left them off of Possum’s serve).

Mess : LOW. Two saucepans. Done.

Tummy Filling Factor : EXCELLENT. Carbs, meat and legumes. Makes for a full belly.

Possum Friendly? YES. The ingredients for this pasta dish makes it perfect for Baby Led Weaning, particularly once they have established or want to practice their pincer grasp.

Would I make it again? Probably not. Green peas can go in many other dishes.

And to sign off, here is a little cuteness to brighten your day. My little garden gnome.

Photo: My little garden gnome :-)

Bending the spine

I have a lot of cookbooks. Not enough. But a lot. I have cooked something out of 80% of them. But that still leaves a fair few that have been looked at, drooled over and then placed back on the shelf. Part of this whole meal planning thing was to help me get those books off the shelf, and put a crease or two in their spines. This week’s selection was “Sundays at Moosewood Restaurant“. It’s a vegetarian cookbook (from the vegetarian Moosewood Restaurant) which has a number of whole meal suggestions organised in cuisines. For example there is a Mexican menu, a Caribbean menu etc. It’s a no photo book, so you need to go by title and ingredients lists to get your belly rumbling. The benefit is, that it doesn’t age the same way food photos do. So you can’t tell how long the book has been sitting on my shelf for, phew!

My pick for our dinner was a Mexican Kettle Stew. A simple one dish wonder full of veggies and I added an extra 400g tin of 4 bean mix to plump it up a bit. Oh, and some capsicum.

Possum liked it and even ate some of the legumes. Legoman loved it and would eat it again. I loved how easy and tasty it was. Our vegetarian dinner guests gobbled it up too. As my Dad says… “it looks like everyone’s kicked a goal!”.

Kettle Stew with Rice

Affordability : Excellent. Loads of cheap veg and tinned staples.

Time Factor : MODERATE. Prep is super quick and easy but the potatoes do take a bit of time to cook thoroughly.

Complexity : LOW. I love a one dish meal like this. And very few steps.

Deliciousness : MODERATE. Anything with sour cream AND cheese must be delicious.

Mess : MINIMAL. One pot for the stew and one for the rice.

Tummy Filling Factor : EXCELLENT. Everyone was very full afterwards, though I did go back for seconds.

Possum Friendly? YES. Especially good once bub has developed a pincer grasp as all the beans, chickpeas and corn provide plenty of practice!

Would I make it again? Yes, and will do before the cold months are over.