Uforic Food Cafe Torquay

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Roman-style chicken

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This recipe is one I recently added to my repertoire – and it’s from Italian cook Giada De Laurentiis. I love her show Everyday Italian – she loves to make comforting Italian food – and I don’t know anyone who doesn’t enjoy that. She’s not a chef, but I have tried many of her recipes and like my mate Nigella (LOL) – they have always been fantastic! I have modified this recipe, like I seem to with all of them becuase I just can’t help myself, ever so slightly.

  • 8 chicken thigh fillets
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, plus 1 teaspoon
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus 1 teaspoon
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 red capsicum, sliced
  • 1 yellow capsicum, sliced (but you can use whatever colour is well-priced, I know yellow especially can be expensive)
  • 5 strips of prosciutto, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 teaspoon fresh oregano leaves
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • 2 tablespoons capers
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves

Directions

Season the chicken with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. In a heavy-based pan heat the olive oil over medium heat. Cook the chicken until browned on both sides. Remove from the pan and set aside.

Keeping the same pan over medium heat, add the peppers and prosciutto and cook until the peppers have browned and the prosciutto is crisp, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes, wine, and herbs. Using a wooden spoon, scrape the browned bits off the bottom of the pan (these add soooo much yummy flavour and should never be discarded). Return the chicken to the pan, add the stock, and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, until the chicken is cooked through, about 20 to 30 minutes.

Add the capers and the parsley. Stir to combine and serve. 

This one is even better the next day, after it has been in the fridge and the flavours have had a chance to meld and enhance. Soooo yummy! Give this one a go and let me know what you though of it in the comments section below.

Feeling chilly? I have just the cure!

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It’s so freezing outside that I thought I should share with you a soup recipe that has become one of my all-time favourites. I really didn’t like the idea of it at first – but although it only has a few ingredients, the flavour is amazing.

 So – introducing …

 Leek and Chickpea Soup.

  • 2 tablespoons of butter
  • 4 leeks
  • 3 desiree potatoes, peeled and cut into cubes
  • 2 cans of chickpeas
  • 1.5 – 2 litres of chicken stock

Cut leeks down the middle, discarding the tough green part at the top, and clean thoroughly under running water. Chop fairly finely.

Melt the butter in a large saucepan and add leeks and a few good pinches of salt. The salt will not only add flavour, but allow the leeks to wilt, without colouring. This should take about five minutes over a medium heat – ensure you keep an eye on it and stir regularly.

Add the potatoes, along with the chickpeas and cook until heated through. Add stock at this point – enough to generously cover the mixture.

Bring to the boil and simmer for 15 minutes, or until potato cubes are tender.

Remove from heat and using a stick mixer, blend the ingredients, but leave some chunky bits.

Blitzing ensures the soup is beautiful and creamy, but leaving some chunky bits of chickpea and leek means there is really nice texture too. However, feel free to blitz to a smooth consistency if that’s what you prefer.

Bring back to the simmer – now you can judge whether more stock needs to be added. Just add more until the texture is to your liking. Make sure you have a taste and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Serve drizzled with some olive oil and some shavings or parmesan cheese.

This soup really is a meal in a bowl on a cold winter night in front of the TV and also makes a fantastic lunch. You can freeze it too, if you want – but I find this one disappears out of the fridge pretty quickly!

Hopefully I have inspired you to give it a go this weekend – it takes no time at all, leeks are plentiful and chickpeas are always cheap – would love to know how you go!

 I’ll have some more great soup recipes for you soon – minestrone or pumpkin soup anyone?

Inspirational recipe #1 – Vegetable stock

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Ok, I know vegie stock doesn’t sound really all that inspiring – but the most awesome thing about it – and chicken stock too – which I will post in coming days – is that it can be the foundation to make many fantastic dishes – vegetarian risotto – curries, soups and much, much more.  I actually penned this recipe for my brother, who recently took over a fruit and veg shop on the Surf Coast called Anglesea Fruitz

 

Now if you want to go somewhere and be inspired by fresh produce and amazing gourmet stuff including olive oil, awesome pasta, the most amazing yogurt on the planet (I’m not joking!!) – then this is definitely a place to stop by – fill your basket and go home and have some fun in the kitchen. It can be found at the Geelong end of the shopping strip in Anglesea – which is at the start of the Great Ocean Road, Victoria Australia. Here is the website to learn more about Anglesea – it truly is a beautiful seaside town and the gateway to many other natural wonders of the world – including the Twelve Apostles 

The Twelve Apostles

http://www.travelvictoria.com.au/anglesea/ 

Ok, so onto the recipe!! The best thing about it is it is simply, healthy, delicious and you can freeze it for future use. Normally I’m not a big fan of freezing, but this works really well 🙂 

There is also no need to peel any of the ingredients and only very rough chopping is needed as the vegetables are strained away later, leaving behind only their natural goodness. 

Vegie stock
 
– 3 stalks of celery – roughly chopped (include top leaves for extra flavour)
– 3 carrots – roughly chopped
– 2 large brown onions, unpeeled, roughly chopped
– 1 handful of fresh parsley
– 2 leeks (use only white parts) roughly chopped
– 3 cloves of garlic – crushed
– 6 pepper corns
– 2 bay leaves
– A few good pinches of sea salt (to taste)
– I stalk of lemon grass – bruised (optional)
 
Combine all ingredients in a large saucepan and pour over enough cold water to cover all the vegetables.
Cover and simmer gently for about 1 hour.
Remove from heat and strain into a clean bowl, pressing the vegetables to extract the flavour. Refrigerate and use as required.
Makes around 5 cups.

Being Inspired

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Well … first of all – welcome!

After many an occasion when friends have said to me “why don’t you start a blog?” – and after much pondering over that very question – here I find myself – starting my own blog.

I suppose at this stage the most fitting thing would be to let you know what I intend to write about – so that way you can decide if you’d like to come back from time to time and have a bit of a read.

Inspiration is the main reason I have decided to write this – and food, of course.

I have been cooking since I was 10 – from that young age I cooked the majority of nightly meals for my mum, dad and younger brother and without a shadow of a doubt – it was never a chore for me.

And, to this day – cooking, eating and everything associated (except cleaning the kitchen, I admit) with food has remained a huge passion of mine.

It’s when I meet people who enjoy cooking or want to learn more about it that made me realise I should really write something about food – because when I start talking about this particular passion, I admit it’s hard to get me to shut up!

So, I am going to write about my thoughts on food – what inspires me to cook constantly and why I think it’s so important. I’ll share with you my favourite recipes and I was thinking I might do a few restaurant reviews too.

So, if food interests you – or you’d like it to and you just need a bit of inspiration – I’m hoping you’ll stayed tuned – enjoy some good food banter, maybe print off a few recipes and share your thoughts with me.

Be Inspired~

Lis~