Tipsy Chicken Leftovers Alfredo

Tipsy Chicken Leftovers Alfredo

Tipsy Chicken Leftovers Alfredo

Given the digestive dramas Beloved suffers when ingesting large amounts of cream, it is rare that I cook this style of pasta sauce. Recently however, I began experimenting with almond and/or coconut milk as a substitute, and I have to say I am most pleased with the results. A generous splash of cider, a few fresh herbs, a large dollop of garlic and some bacon ‘n onion made a delicious (and surprisingly low fat) accompaniment to some vegetable pasta. Leftover roast chicken never had it so good.

Paella

Paella

Paella

When the Moors came to Spain and Italy in the 8th century, they brought with them a shiny new Religion. So enthusiastic were these Missionaries-with-attitude, they put to the sword anyone who did not embrace it (a recurring theme in Human History). They also brought new medicines, philosophy, music, language, sciences .. and food. Rice found its way into Spanish cuisine, along with a whole tasty spectrum of spices.  Latin was the language of Catholic medieval Europe. The latin for cooking pan is patella, which morphed (as languages do) into padilla or paelle, depending on where in the Mediterranean you lived. Pragmatic Catalonian peasants named the hearty rice dish after the pan they cooked in it .. and Paella was born.

Cheating at Quiche

When I heard that Best Friend was making the journey Down Under again, and (more importantly) coming to dinner, I was determined to be on my very, very best behaviour. On her previous trip I had made a complete arse of myself, opening my mouth wide and firmly wedging in both feet. (One day I may be brave enough to tell you that story). My gentle, forgiving friend eats no meat, so my usual stand-bys and signature dishes were off the menu .. until Gran came to my rescue once more. In common with most folks who lived through the Depression, Gran had a lot of ways of serving cheap, simple and nourishing. Eggs, mushrooms, onions and plenty of mustard with bread’nbutter turned into Savoury Mushroom Custard.  I kicked her recipe up a notch, including seasonal vegetables and herbs to transform “Simple” into “Gourmet”.

The meal was a success, we smiled, laughed and I managed to keep my feet well away from my mouth. I have made this dish many times and in many guises since, never without a fond smile of remembrance.

TexMex Steak ‘n Beans Pottage

Tex-Mex Steak 'n Beans Pottage

Tex-Mex Steak 'n Beans Pottage

The first time I made this using leftovers from a BBQ. The rich, meaty stick-to-your ribs goodness was an instant hit. TBone is wonderful as the bone gives a silky texture to the broth, however any decent steak will do as long as you use a good stock. I also use a 375g packet of McKenzie’s four bean mix which may not be available in your area, so substitute 2 cups of mixed dried beans. Experiment with chilli varieties to make it as hot (or not) as you like. I used Jalepeño which gives it some subtlety, a little extra warmth for the cockles of your heart. If you don’t have American chilli jelly, or sweet chilli jam in your cupboard, ½ cup of sweet chiili sauce would be an acceptable substitute.

Spiced Pumpkin and Cashew Pesto

Spiced Pumpkin and Cashew Pesto

Spiced Pumpkin and Cashew Pesto

This is a very versatile little pesto. As a nourishing instant breakfast, pumpkin pesto spread over thick slices of toast and topped with tomato or swiss cheese it has few parallels. With just a little imagination, that extends to crusty bread as a base for bruschetta or an exotic BLT. It makes a fabulous dip served with crackers, crudites or toasted pita bread. It’s spiciness lends itself to casseroles or soups, especially those featuring lighter meats like chicken, veal or turkey. Stirred through cooked pasta it makes an aromatic and delicious instant dinner .. especially for vegetarians who will get a big mineral boost from the cashews.