FOOD DIARY: chicken thighs wrapped in prosciutto

Last night was my turn in the kitchen and because we are trying to clean our fridge of extraneous food items I returned to the recipe I had obtained from the internet earlier.  The package of thighs that we had bought contained four pieces of which we had used two with two remaining; we also had some remaining prosciutto so it was natural to kill two birds with one stone (cleaning out the fridge and fixing dinner) and fix the same recipe from days earlier.

I just stripped the leaves off fresh thyme stems, added some crushed garlic cloves and mixed both with good butter and used that mixture to spread on the inside of the thighs, wrapped them in prosciutto and then spread the remaining butter over the prosciutto wrapping.

 I baked them on an oven tray at about 200 for roughly 20 minutes.  Those thighs, a robust salad and a bottle of Houghton’s Chardonnay Semillon constituted a bonzer of a meal!


FOOD DIARY: salmon linguine

Last night was Di’s turn in the kitchen and she made delicious linguine pasta with salmon pieces: a product that is fairly new to our markets. It is a packet containing off-pieces of salmon after the larger bits have been packed as slices.  These off-pieces are ticker than normal packaged salmon slices but still small and therefore are perfect for use in pasta with salmon.  Di just added a little stock with some milk rather than cream, which we did not have in the fridge, and a little flavourings and voila a delightful pasta sauce was made from nothing.

She fixed a wonderful lettuce salad accompanied by the usual suspects plus a new miscreant: Greek feta.  Accompanying this unholy alliance was a sublimely delicious table wine from our Swan Valley, Houghton’s Chardonnay Semillon.     


FOOD DIARY: chicken thighs wrapped in prosciutto

Tonight I cooked in order to get back into the swing of things in the kitchen.  We had to stock up slightly from our absence these past days in Broome so I decided to remake the chicken meal from last week because it was easy as well as being very tasty.  I decided to also recreate the rice dish which goes very well with the chicken because the butter, garlic and thyme mixture that is spread on the thighs melts and with the chicken juices forms a sauce that accompanies the rice very well. 

The thigh pieces (skinless and boned) are wrapped in the prosciutto slices and then spread with the mixture.  The original recipe does not call for it but I always spread some of the butter mixture on the inside of the thigh before it is wrapped as well as spreading the mixture on the prosciutto before it is marinaded in the fridge for an hour.

When I make the rice I melt some good butter in a small heavy saucepan, add ½ cup of rice and then fry the rice for a few minutes until the rice becomes opaque and then add the cup of stock.  If the stock is of a good quality the rice becomes very tasty and is a perfect accompaniment to the chicken.

The meal was finished with a strong salad and a bottle of Houghton’s Chardonnay Semillon.   

FOOD DIARY: swordfish fillets with herbs

Last night I cooked because it was the first night of the 2–5 Diet. We had beautiful flash frozen swordfish fillets in the freezer and they can always be depended upon to produce a wonderful meal and last night was no exception.

We have used a recipe from the Floyd on Fish cookbook from ’85.  Floyd was a TV chef from England who went on to write cookbooks from various places around the world as well as specific areas of Europe.  Diane and I enjoy his recipes: they are not terribly complex nor are they dishes that you would only cook in a Blue Moon. His fish recipes particularly are worthy of any occasion.

This recipe called for a paste to be made from: bay leaves, sage, basil, parsley, rosemary, thyme, anchovy, garlic lemon juice and olive oil.  “Paint” the mixture on the fillets, both sides, one hour before grilling them.   We do about 3 minutes per side.

Last night was a diet night so I only made a skinny salad with a glass or two of water: could do much worse!

FOOD DIARY: chicken thighs wrapped in prosciutto

Last night I cooked and we are trying to clean our fridge of frozen food and items that we have just over-bought.  One of those items was a pair of chicken thighs that are my favourite piece of the bird.  Diane has a great recipe called Chicken Napoli but I have never made it so I looked for a new recipe; to the rescue came the internet and a plethora of chicken thigh recipes.  I picked one that looked excellent and it actually tasted excellent.  It called for a butter, crushed garlic and thyme paste that should be spread on the inside of the skinned and deboned thighs.  The thighs were then wrapped in a prosciutto slice and using the remaining butter mixture spread over the prosciutto thus insuring that the meat does not dry out as it cooked.  The recipe called for the wrapped thigh to be baked on an oven tray at 400 for 20 minutes.  It was a delicious main course, was uncomplicated and did not require a great deal of preparation.

I made some slightly fried rice as a side and the compulsory salad and all accompanied by a bottle of Swan Valley Houghton’s great white table wine: Semillon chardonnay.   


FOOD DIARY: penne with vegetables

Last night Diane made a delicious pasta sauce with eggplant and tomato: it was very warming and definitely a casalinga dish. She flavoured the sauce only with marjoram so the tastes of the sauce came purely from the basic ingredients of the dish.

We had the ever-present robust salad to provide a cleansing taste after the pasta. The meal was further enhanced by a few glasses of a Penfolds red which eased the pasta. 

Again a delicious meal was prepared by the resident Leeming chef!  


FOOD DIARY: ravioli

Last night was a very quiet night; Diane used a purchased ravioli and sauced it simply with butter and sage.  The product is a good one and they have a wide variety of filled pastas that have been good (by my tastes.)

We also had the non-optional salad as well as a glass of red wine of indetertminent origin.

FOOD DIARY: a sort-of tapas party

Last night our old and dear friend Colleen came over for food, something to drink and much conversation. Diane and I each made a dish and just purchased the food for the other two; Colleen brought the dessert.

We started with Diane’s Prawn Cocktail: a small bowl each with four prawns—delicious (the 70s returns!)  The next dish was my version of Oysters Rockefeller which is a strange dish made with herbs, bread crumbs and butter mashed together, spooned over the oysters and then slipped under the grill.  The next dish was just a piece of store bought pate with some small toasts and that was followed by a plate of anti-pasto: prosciutto, black and green olives and pickled mushrooms—simple yet delicious.

Following this meal we had the pastries that Colleen had brought accompanied by a domestic bottle of sparkling.


FOOD DIARY: paella

Last night was my turn and I fixed my version of that wonderful Spanish outdoor dish, paella. It was my version because of lack of correct ingredients, a desire to make it low-cal and choosing the wrong ingredients.  As with many mistakes those mistakes show you new pathways that would never have been tried if not for the mistake.  Last night we got all the proper things out for the dish except that we set out regular long grained rice rather than the Spanish abboreo rice which is normally used.  Also, because the flame source is concentrated in the middle of the pan, I used a regular cooking pan rather than a Spanish paella pan which spreads the rice out over a much larger area rather than concentrating it as a narrower cooking pot will do.

It’s curious, a little bit of cooking trivia, that the New Orlean’s cooks say that their gumbo is a Cajun version of Spanish paella and when you cook it you can easily see the connections.  The dish that I made last night was not Spanish and it was not New Orleans but it was probably closer to the Cajun version being wetter than the Spanish version and much more like a gumbo.  Diane reckons that the rice made the difference; long grain just cannot compare to the abboreo and the Spanish paella pan is an absolute necessity but if you use one you must have a wide spread heat source.

Having said all of that the dish last night tasted really good, so good in fact, we finished the whole lot so it was not a low-cal evening.

We had the compulsory cleansing salad and a bottle of truly delicious Spanish white wine.  It was a Marques de Riscal Rueda which uses the Verdejo grape variety which is native to Rueda region of Spain.  We both enjoyed it so much I will try to remember how and where I bought it and lay in a case.   


FOOD DIARY: Tuesday of the 2–5 Diet roasted cod

Last night was my night in the kitchen and Diane and I have decided that having fish on this diet has been good for us. Not only have we lost weight but the fact that the flash frozen shop sells North Sea cod makes eating Ainsley’s recipes a real treat.  I must admit that the cold water fish: Patagonian Toothfish, Orange Roughfy (New Zealand) and North Sea Cod.  All ogf these fish tast particularly good to me when they are baked.  Australians generally will say that Barramundi is the best eating fish available.  I like Barra but I guess it depends on the method of cooking.  I don’t think that it would be suitable for baking.  While Diane was still teaching I used to meet her at a shopping centre between her school and Leeming and I would taxi and meet her every Thursday.  There was a little coffee shop that had a lady that knew her way around a kitchen and I ordered her Barra every week for, seemingly, several years and she could cook that fish as well as I have ever tasted outside our house.  Unfortunately they redeveloped the centre and that little place now exists only in my memory.

At the market the day before we had bought a punnet of Swiss brown mushrooms which I think are delicious and I sliced them up last night and fried them in a little butter (even though it was diet day) and they became the side for the cod.

Ainsley’s recipe is simple but delicious and it becomes the perfect diet meal.  We married the fish with a easy salad and a glass of water.