Friday, June 6, 2014

For the Freezer: Chicken Wontons

We all have days when we just can't be arsed with cooking, and it's generally on those days when we reach for the take-out menu. Wouldn't it be nice to have a healthier alternative? Yes, I think so.

Personally I'm a big fan of the freezer, and love to have a big cook-up day every month or so and make a whole batch of different goodies to freeze, in anticipation of lazy days ahead. Wontons are a definite favourite at our place, but not being a massive fan of pork I tend to opt for chicken. This recipe will work fine with either protein though, so go with whichever you prefer. 

Versatile little suckers; you can deep-fry or steam them as a starter or cheeky snack, or pop a few into an asian-style broth to jazz up a soup.

500g free range chicken (or pork) mince
1/2 tsp minced or finely grated ginger
1 tsp chilli garlic sauce
100g water chestnuts, finely chopped
1 tbsp coriander stalks, washed and finely chopped
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp oyster sauce
1 tsp white pepper
270g (pack of 40) wonton skins

You'll also need a small bowl of water on hand, a plastic container suitable for use in the freezer and some baking paper.

To make the filling, simply combine all the ingredients together in a mixing bowl, and give it a really good scrunch up with your hands. Don't mess about with a wooden spoon or anything –  just get right in there and get dirty. 

First step, take a teaspoon of the chicken mix, and place it in the centre of a wonton skin.

Dip your finger in the water and slightly wet two sides, then fold it over to form a triangle. Carefully push out any air so it doesn't burst when you cook it.

Turn the triangle so the top point is facing you, wet one of the end points, then fold and squash the ends together.

Then flip the top point up, so it forms a little boat shape, like so:

Repeat this process until you run out of wonton skins, then layer them up in a plastic container, with baking paper in between each layer so they don't stick. I like to freeze mine in layers of 10, as I tend to make soup most of the time for myself and Mr B, and five each works out nicely.

Stored correctly, these will last for a month or so in the freezer, if you can resist eating them all at once!

Friday, May 23, 2014

Carrot, Chickpea and Ginger Soup

Soup, soup, soupy soup. Yep, more soup. Don't you just love it? What better way to use up old-ish veggies hanging around the fridge. I know I've said it before, but you know, soup.

This recipe came about one afternoon last week, when I was in one of those 'not braving the supermarket' moods, and needed to come up with something tasty for dinner. The fridge was a barren wasteland, bar a few sad-looking carrots, so soup was really the only option. Yet with the addition of just a few simple pantry staples, voila! One delicious, healthy and totally thrifty dinner was served.

1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tbsp ginger, finely grated
2 sticks celery, chopped
3 large carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
1 potato, peeled and roughly chopped
400g (1 tin) chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1L chicken or vegetable stock
Sea salt and cracked pepper
Olive oil
Chilli flakes (optional)

Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a heavy-based saucepan over medium heat, and saute the onion, garlic, ginger and celery until softened and fragrant. Add the carrots, potato and chickpeas, stirring briefly, then add the stock and season well with salt and pepper. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat, cover, and allow to simmer for about an hour.

Once the vegetables are cooked through, use a stick blender to puree the soup to a smooth consistency. Check and adjust the seasoning if required, then serve garnished with a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of chilli flakes.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Tuna Salad Wrap

Let me start by saying that I am not a fan of canned tuna. I feed it to my cat. That said, sometimes I try to trick myself into liking it by mixing it with other ingredients that I love. A method which, up until now, hasn't really worked at all. Up until yesterday's lunch to be precise, when I finally discovered a way to make it tolerable.

Tolerable tuna, for me, involved combining one small can of tuna (in springwater) with half an avocado and a good tablespoon of finely chopped cornichons (baby gherkins) in a bowl, and mashing it all together with a fork. I added a squeeze of lemon juice and a hell-of-a-lot of salt and pepper, and wrapped it all up with fresh tomato and rocket in a wholemeal pita bread. And guess what? It was YUM! I will totally eat this again. And there's also no reason to stick to a wrap - you could use the same tuna mix in a sandwich, or on rice thins or crackers. 

Surprisingly, I think this just might end up as a regular inclusion in my weekday lunch rotation.

Monday, April 28, 2014


Yep, you're looking at my breakfast. Not exactly a recipe, but doesn't it look pretty? Too good not to share. I adore avocado on toast, and today decided to pair it up with red chilli and my beloved kumato

Tell me, what are your favourite on-toast combinations?

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Out and About: Balls on Smith

I was pretty excited recently to learn that one of my favourites  Meatball & Wine Bar  was about to be gracing Smith Street, in the location formerly housing Josie Bones. I was even more excited to find out that they were due to open on Good Friday. What better way to kick off the long weekend than with a good set of balls?

The concept remains the same as the CBD and Richmond versions; choose your balls, choose your sauce, choose your base. Love it. 

Feeling light, I opted for the chicken balls with green pesto sauce on a bed of garden-fresh broccoli. It was huge, covered in parmesan cheese and utterly delicious.

Mr B was feeling a bit more on the stodgy side, and went for beef balls with red sauce and creamy polenta. Of course I was stuck with a major case of food envy upon arrival of our dishes  the polenta was TO DIE FOR. So creamy. So cheesy. Ugh. 

It was a pretty quiet opening day, but I'm sure this place will be pumping in no time, especially with the cold weather now very much upon us. This will definitely be a regular haunt for me during winter. 

98 Smith Street
Collingwood VIC 3066

Meatball & Wine Bar on Urbanspoon

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Happy Easter!

I've been spending my long weekend enjoying buns and tea a-plenty. How about you?