It has been a busy few weeks catching up with family and friends, which always means a fair bit of driving. My lovely daughter was home for a quick visit from LA presenting a great opportunity for a family gathering and to enjoy some tasty pinwheels. These are a favourite in my house and a great standby, you can make them in advance and have a roll in the freezer to bake when needed.
A dear friend returned from a six week adventure in North America, Spain & Portugal. Her return naturally warranted several phone calls and a dinner at her place to catch up. She made a fabulous Asian glazed Pork Belly, which she promised me the recipe, but unfortunately we were talking so much that I didn’t even think of taking a photo… the crackling was fantastic! From Lisbon she brought me a beautiful hand painted tile, which I will use as a trivet, in my favourite colour combination of blue and white. My home grown Myer Lemons look gorgeous against the colour of the tile. The small flyer which came with the tile was so poetic; it stated that it was in Lisbon that, ‘the tile abandoned the intimacy of palaces and churches and flowed into the streets as decoration, making Lisbon a paradise of facades, patterns, colours and light’. ☺ I am very grateful for the kindness of my friends, only recently the sister of another friend brought me back from her trip to Italy, a fantastic bread bag to store my homemade sourdough; it works a treat and the sourdough stays fresh for days!
There was the quick(ish) trip down the Hume Highway to visit Dad, taking with me a few meals to tide him over, which I posted last week. By way of an update to that post, Dad rated my Lamb Shank and Pearl Barley soup as,”over 100%”, which I guess means I’ll be making him another batch soon. It is so cold where he lives that a hot bowl of thick hearty soup is like a jumper for your insides. A few people have asked me for the recipe so I may post it in coming weeks.
Finally, we made a quick weekend dash to our Nations Capital to check in on my lovely mother who was recovering from a nasty procedure. I also took her a batch of the soup (did I tell you I made A LOT of soup!). Even though it’s over 3 hours each way, it’s always a pleasure to visit Mum. We took the opportunity for a brief catch up with my cousin & to go to the Fyshwick Markets where I bought some amazing eschalots and pretty onions from Wiffens Greengrocers. Look at the size of the eschalots compared to the ones generally on offer at my greengrocer! There is so much variety and excellent quality at these markets, and now during Truffle season you can also pick up fresh A.C.T grown truffles!
It was lovely being with Mum in her kitchen, she wanted to show me a new recipe she has been making, she is really good at cooking the egg for this very tasty prawn fried rice. On the way home we stopped off at the cosy SOME CAFE at Collector…my favourite Allpress coffee is on offer here as are lots of hearty comforting dishes from locally sourced produce. It’s a destination rather than a drive through location but at 11.30am on a Winter Sunday the joint was jumping, mind you it was 2 degrees outside and they had a couple of open fires on the go… need I say more?
The downside of a weekend away is what needs to be done when you get home to prepare for the week ahead, so a quick but wholesome evening meal was a must. This one is a variation of a pasta dish I make. Making use of some fresh pesto I made for later in the week and using some button mushrooms and chicken I already had in the fridge meant that dinner was ready in no time. I served it with brown rice, but pasta or even some kind of mash would do just fine.
Pesto & Mushroom Chicken
A quick dish which doesn’t compromise on taste.
- 4 Chicken thighs (- skinless)
- 200 g Button Mushrooms
- 40 ml Olive Oil
- 1 Eschalot (medium to large)
- 40g Pesto (- preferably homemade)
- 125 ml while wine
- 125 ml chicken stock
- White Pepper
Trim any fat from the chicken thighs
Peel and thinly slice the mushrooms
Peel and finely dice the eschalot
Heat half the oil in a frypan/skillet and cook the eshalot until translucent. Add the mushrooms and cook until softened. Remove from the pan.
Heat the remaining oil and brown the chicken.
Add the pesto and the wine and gently simmer until wine is reduced
Return the eshalot and mushroom mixture to the pan and add the chicken stock and season with pepper. Cook over a low heat until chicken is cooked and the sauce reduced.
Serve with fettuccine, rice or mashed potato.