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21 February 2009

Tomato Chicken Rice Curry

I was inspired by Bill Grainger to create this recipe when I found it in a different form in Simply Bill, one of the many Bill Grainger cookbooks that I own (actually one of the many cookbooks I own full stop). I added tomatoes,ginger and lemon myrtle to the original recipe and find that it is delicious. Lemon myrtle is my new favourite cooking ingredient. If you have not tried it, I highly recommend that you do. I would tend to add a bit more lemon myrtle to the curry than indicated below, but that is purely because I just adore the taste.

Ingredients (serves 4)

2 tablespoons curry powder
4 chicken breasts (or 8 thigh pieces), each cut into 3 pieces (if using thigh pieces, just cut in half)
1 tablespoons olive oil
2 onions
3 cloves garlic crushed
3cm piece ginger grated
2 x 400g tinned tomatoes
1½ cups basmati rice
3 cups chicken stock
2 teaspoons lemon myrtle
Mixed steamed vegetables to serve


Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Place curry power a bowl and toss chicken pieces to coat well.

Heat olive oil in a casserole dish (with a tight fitting lid) over medium heat. (if you do not have a casserole dish that can be used on the stove, just use a fry pan and transfer to a casserole dish to cook in the oven). Cook chicken in batches until browned. Remove and set aside.

Cook onion, garlic and ginger until soft (if the pan is a little dry, you may need to add a little extra oil). Add rice and cook until well coated and transparent (about 2 minutes). Return chicken to the dish. Add tomatoes and stock and stir to combine.

Cook in the oven for 20 minutes. Add lemon myrtle and return dish to the oven and cook for another 25 minutes or until chicken is cooked through and the rice has absorbed all the liquid.

Serve with steamed greens.

I love taking the leftovers to work the next day. This is one that also freezes well after cooking.

Spinach, Haloumi and Chorizo Salad

I normally serve this salad when entertaining as part of a banquet. It mixes fabulously with roast beef. But, it is also hearty enough to be a meal on its own.

In the picture I have madeit for my husband Mark, and our friend Scott, with grilled chicken. I apologise for the quality of the photo. I have not quite mastered food photography yet!
Ingredients (serves 4 as a main meal, 6 as a side dish)

150g baby spinach washed and dried
2 punnets cherry tomatoes
Olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper
3-4 chorizo sausages chopped (quantity depends on whether you are serving as a side or a main)
1 packet (250g) haloumi cut into 1 cm strips.
2 tablespoons olive oil (extra)
1 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar


Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Place the tomatoes in a baking dish, drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and freshly ground pepper. Cook for 20 minutes or until soft.

While the tomatoes are cooking, heat a fry pan and a small drizzle of olive oil over medium heat and cook the chorizo until crispy. Drain on absorbent paper and wipe the pan clean.

Place the extra olive oil, balsamic and sugar in a screw top jar and shake to combine.

Place the spinach in a serving bowl. Once the tomatoes are cooked and cooled slightly add the chorizo and tomatoes to the spinach. Immediately fry the haloumi in a little olive oil for 1-2 minutes on each side or until golden. Cut into cubes and add to the spinach, chorizo and tomatoes.

Dress with the olive oil and balsamic dressing, mix lightly and serve immediately.

If serving as an accompaniment to steak, marinate the steak in a mixture of soy sauce and red wine vinegar prior to cooking. I find this gives the steak amazing additional flavour.

This is a fantastic salad to serve when entertaining. You can prepare the tomatoes, chorizo and dressing in advance and simply combine with the spinach and haloumi just before serving.

Mum's Chicken Pie

My mum is quite famous for her unique chicken pie recipe. My childhood friends would always talk about how delicious it is. Since I have started making it myself, my husband and friends just love it. I’ll admit it took me a while to make it exactly as she does (and mine still does taste slightly different) but the learning process was well worth it.

Treat the quantities as approximations only and add more or less of anything according to taste.

Mum and I hope you enjoy.

Ingredients (serves 4)

2 carrots
1 large tin corn
2 cups frozen peas
1 onion grated
1 green apple grated
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons plain flour
1/3 cup milk
1 whole BBQ chicken, skin removed, meat shredded
2-4 tablespoons of mayonnaise (according to taste)
2 sheets store bought puff pastry
Powdered chicken stock to taste
1 egg beaten


Preheat the oven to 200 degrees. Grease a pie dish with oil spray or butter.

Cook the mixed vegetables until just tender. Allow to cool.

Meanwhile, melt the butter in a large saucepan. Once melted, cook the onion and apple until soft. Add the flour and stir until the mixture thickens. Cook, stirring for 5 minutes. Add milk and cook until thickened. The mixture should be thick, but not runny. Let the mixture cool slightly (you can put the mixture in the fridge to speed up the cooling process). Stir in mayonnaise.

Ensure the chicken and mixed vegetables are cool, add to the mixture and stir until combined. Season to taste with salt, pepper and chicken stock.

Line the pie dish with one sheet puff pastry. Place the mixture in the pie dish and place the remaining sheet of puff pastry over the top and close. Glaze the top of the pie with the egg and cut air vents in the pastry.

Cook for 20 minutes, turning the pie if it cooks unevenly. After 20 minutes, lower the heat to 180 degrees and cook for another 20 minutes.

I like to prepare the pie in advance and store in the freezer, uncooked, to be enjoyed on busy evenings.

Add an additional 2 sheets of puff pastry and make 2 smaller pies using disposable pie dishes. Smaller pie dishes sold at supermarkets serve 2 people and the extra pie can be kept in the freezer for later. Perfect when you are cooking for 2.