Monday 20 February 2012

Chicken, watermelon & mozzarella salad with mint dressing

No, I promise I haven't abandoned my lovely little blog. I have just been dealing with some personal issues/stresses in my life for the past month and have had a bit of trouble coming up with stuff to post. Also, I haven't really been cooking that much. I have a few things to post but not that much. 

I made this dish quite some time ago now and didn't get around to posting about it then. It was really good. I started out with this recipe over on Taste but made a few changes with regards to what I had and personal taste. I made the mint dressing as per the recipe, using regular mint in place of the spearmint. I set aside a little for drizzling. Then I marinated the chicken in the rest for about an hour. I browned the chicken over a medium high heat for a minute on both sides and then baked in the oven at 180 C for about 15 minutes. I didn't cook the onion. I just sliced some half moons. I added butter lettuce, halved cherry tomatoes and capsicum. I also didn't use the haloumi as I had some buffalo mozzarella that needed to be used up so I just tore it into chunks. It was definitely a very refreshing dinner for a warm day. 

 Chicken, watermelon & mozzarella salad with mint dressing

1 bunch mint, leaves picked
2 tbs capers
1 large clove garlic
1/2 cup (125ml) extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for brushing
2 tbs lemon juice
4 chicken breast fillets
1.25kg piece seedless watermelon, rind removed, cut into small wedges
1 punnet cherry tomatoes, halved
1 red capsicum, sliced 
1/2 red onion, sliced 
2 balls buffalo mozzarella, torn into chunks
1 head butter lettuce, leaves torn 


Finely chop mint, capers and garlic, then place in a bowl. Add oil and lemon juice, then season with salt and pepper. Reserve a couple of tablespoons for drizzling and then add chicken breasts and let marinate for 1 hour. 
Pre-heat oven to 180C.
Heat fry pan over medium high heat and brown chicken for 1 - 2 minutes each side then place pan in the oven for 15 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. 
Allow chicken to sit for 5 minutes and then slice thickly. 
Combine all ingredients on plates and drizzle with reserved dressing.

Sunday 12 February 2012

February 2012 - Coppa, Peach & Buffalo Mozzarella Salad

I actually made the recipe from the February issue back at the end of January. The magazine comes out a week or so before the start of the month so plenty of time to look through it and decide on what to make. 

I had several things marked in this issue to try out. I am very keen to try out Belinda Jeffrey's crispy potatoes with bacon and rosemary. I think they would be the perfect side dish to a roast dinner, probably lamb I think. I also really like the sound of Belinda's Peperonata & spaghettini frittata with harissa cream. It sounds just wonderful, although it does use 10 eggs and serve 6 - 8. That is a lot of food. I might try cutting the recipe in half but not sure how it will go. The full recipe is cooked in a 30 cm fry pan, I assume that my 24 cm pan would work for half the recipe. 

I was also very interested in Jessica Brook's Mixed pepper crusted steak with mushroom salad. I didn't have the dried green peppercorns though. I hope that I can find some and make it though. As it sounds really good. I also like that the mushroom salad uses char-grilled mushrooms. Jessica's Lamb burgers with buffalo mozzarella and cucumber salad. I love burgers and this sounds like a wonderful combination. I think I might make them some time this week. 

My grandparents had given me some lovely peaches so I decided to make Liz Condon's Bresaola, grilled peach & buffalo mozzarella salad. Unfortunately I couldn't get bresaola so instead I purchased some coppa. I was able to get some buffalo mozzarella, it was so very good. It is a shame that I haven't been able to get it since. I hope that they will get some more in. I also added some halved cherry tomatoes and sliced red onion. It was a simple and easy salad to make and was very good. 

Coppa, Peach & Buffalo Mozzarella Salad

  • 4 peaches, halved and stones removed 
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • Juice 1/2 lemon 
  • 1 bunch rocket
  • 12 slices coppa 
  • 2 x 150 g buffalo mozzarella ball, torn
  • punnet cherry tomatoes, halved 
  • 1/2 red onion, sliced
  • Heat fry pan over medium-high heat. Brush peaches with oil and then cook until slightly charred. Let cool and peel. 
  • Mix together oil & lemon juice and season.
  • Arrange all ingredients on serving plate and drizzle with dressing. 

Friday 3 February 2012

Paradise Pear, Pancetta & Camembert Tart

Wow, is it February already? Hard to believe really. I haven't been all that well over the past couple of weeks so they have seemed to kind of disappear. Hopefully things will improve though. 

I haven't been doing a lot of cooking but I did make these lovely little tarts a while ago. While shopping the one day I saw a package of Paradise Pears. These are tiny little pears. I remembered seeing them in stores last year too but hadn't bought them. So I decided that I would get some and experiment. I decided to use some in a savoury dish. I came across this recipe on Taste and adapted it to how I wanted them to be. I served it with a lovely little side salad. It was a perfect result, if I do say so myself. The sweetness from the caramelised onion & pears combined perfectly with the salty pancetta and silky custard. Camembert was just the icing on the cake.

Paradise Pear, Pancetta & Camembert Tart


1 1/2 cups plain flour
125 g butter, cubed
1/2 tsp salt
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 tbsp white vinegar
water to make up 1/2 c with egg & vinegar

Combine flour & salt, cut in butter. Combine egg & vinegar and add water. Add slowly to flour & butter mixture until you get a soft pastry. (You probably wont need all the liquid) Wrap in glad wrap and refrigerate for 20 minutes.
Roll out and line 10 cm individual tart pans. Place tart pans on a baking tray and chill in freezer for 20 minutes.
Pre-heat oven to 180 C.
Line pastry shells with baking paper and fill with pie weights/beans/rice and bake for 15 minutes. Remove baking paper and weights and return to oven for a further 10 - 15 minutes or until slightly golden.

For filling: 

3 Paradise pears 
30 g butter
2 tsp brown sugar 
2 tbsp caramelised onions
4 very thin slices pancetta
150 g camembert
2 eggs 
1/2 c milk
salt & pepper, to taste

Halve and core pears. Heat half the butter in a pan over a medium heat until foamy. Add 3 pear halves and cook until golden. Sprinkle with half the sugar and cook, turning occasionally, until caramelised. Transfer to a plate. Repeat with the remaining butter, and the remaining pears and sugar. 
Wipe out fry pan and increase heat to medium high. Add pancetta slices and cook until crispy. Remove to a plate lined with paper to drain, and then crumble. 
Place a small amount of caramelised onions in the bottom of each tart shell, top with some crumbled pancetta, two pear halves and some chunks of camembert. 
Lightly beat eggs in a measuring jug, add milk and salt & pepper and whisk to combine then pour into tart tins. 
Bake at 180 C (fan forced) for 18 - 20 minutes or until set and golden.