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Chicken & vegetable adobo

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My first experience with chicken adobo was on a flight back to Sydney from the Philippines. It wasn’t great.

But after visiting the Philippines in January 2013, I’ve been intrigued to track down more recipes to broaden my tastebud horizons. When we were there it seemed like every meal was fried chicken, rice, rice, noodles, and more rice. And fried chicken. That’s because most of the places we were visiting were in rural areas with no restaurants to speak of — that didn’t serve only fried chicken and rice or noodles, anyway!

Chicken adobo caught my attention “for real” when I was perusing Appetite for China and came across this excellent adobo recipe. I’ve been hooked since. So hooked that I haven’t even made the coconut version, and I love coconut.

This is my own adaptation of chicken adobo, using the basic sauce from Appetite for China and adding in a good portion of vegetables. Eggplant seems to be a go-to in Filipino cooking, but I know they would also use any good veggies that were fresh and at hand, so do get creative if you desire.

The best part about this dish is its amazing sweet and sour fragrance as it cooks — but do keep the lid on to keep those juices from evaporating!

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Posted: September 12th, 2014 under Easy, Joni's Blog, Mains - No Comments. Tags: , , , , , , ,

Quick Croque-Monsieurs

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Croque-monsieurs are a fantastic quick recipe to have up your sleeve. I used to eat them for lunch from the local bakery, but more recently, they were a treat when we hosted a family brunch. Plus, you can make a thwack of them at the same time… and you get to sound very dignified every time you call these a “croque-monsieur” instead of a “cheese and ham toastie.”

Follow these instructions loosely and you’ll have something delicious no matter what variations your tastebuds demand.

Pro tip: Make this into a croque-madame by adding a fried egg!

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Posted: August 17th, 2014 under Breakfast, Easy, Recipes, Sides - No Comments. Tags: , ,

Laksa, Delicious Laksa

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When I get sick, I don’t crave chicken soup. I crave one of two things — tomato soup from a can with grilled cheese and dill pickles (hat tip to Kate and our dining hall days — I also crave this when perfectly healthy), or spicy beef ramen noodles (hat tip to football player roommates who once bought a 48 box of these from Costco for the house). Unfortunately for me, my favourite spicy beef ramen noodles are no longer accessible to me, for two reasons. One, my fave brand was Safeway’s own, which doesn’t seem to exist anywhere near me in Australia. Two, I refuse to buy a one-use styrofoam cup just to enjoy guilty pleasure empty calories.

What does all of this have to do with laksa, you may ask? It seems that in my quasi-invalid state today, I craved what is arguably the grown up version of these two comfort foods. Laksa, that spicy, creamy, savoury, tart, sweet, and overall delectable goodness. I’m a convert.

Just fyi, my invalid state today was caused by surgery on my ear — cosmetic, as I had a big keloid scar lump there from an old piercing. It was my first time ever going under in complete anaesthetic, which on the whole wasn’t so bad. Other than nerves in the morning, I’d say the whole experience (so far) has been about as pleasant as getting a cavity filled. So, I wouldn’t necessarily recommend this if you’re sick in the gastro way — a really hot laksa could sure do wonders for a head cold though!

Another disclaimer. I think I’ve had laksa only a handful of times in my life, and two of those were my own homemade version. As a gal who grew up in small Canadian town with no Asian food other than Westernised Chinese and Japanese, I’m no connoisseur or particular whiz at Asian dishes (yet). But frankly, so long as it’s delicious, who really cares, right? Enjoy this with a nice cold beer any time of ear. Er, year.

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Posted: November 5th, 2013 under Easy, Joni's Blog, Mains, Recipes - No Comments. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Blueberry Banana Oat Muffins

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Every now and then a recipe comes along and you say to yourself: “This is it. I’ve found it.”

And that’s what these muffins are! I’ve made many a muffin in my time and there’s a difficult balance to find between taste, health, moistness, and of course flavour. Some muffins are just too healthy. Some are a cupcake by another name. To me, a good muffin is one that sits pleasantly in the middle of the scale, with a great flavour to boot.

The next time you have blueberries in your fridge/freezer just begging to be baked into something, pull up this recipe and enjoy!

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Posted: June 22nd, 2013 under Baking, Breakfast, Easy, Joni's Blog - 1 Comment. Tags: , , , ,

Random Post: Traditional Tourtière & All Butter Pastry

Ahh, this thing was a masterpiece! I was inspired to make tourtière (pronounced tort-ee-AIR) for the first time this year in honour of Canada Day. My family on my paternal grandmother’s side is French Canadian, having arrived in Quebec in the 1690s. French Canadian cooking is the ultimate comfort food, I think—Quebec winters are bloody cold and it seems that even summer doesn’t last very long. Traditional dishes like split pea soup, maple syrup pie, tourtière, sugar pie, butter tarts, and all manner of other pastries and stick-to-your-bones baked goods and meats are actually pretty easy to cook, and I have plans on attempting a few other newer French Canadian treats too—croissants and bagels. Mm.

At its heart though, tourtière is a simple mince meat (usually pork) pie with some unique spicing; cinnamon and cloves. I grew up thinking this combination was absolutely normal, since that’s how dad always made hamburgers—turns out it’s a throwback to his Montreal upbringing.

The Australians to whom I served this thought it was fantastic, so I guess it goes to show that a delicious meat pie is going to be appreciated in any culture.

Also take note that I’ve used a new recipe for pastry—an all-butter one from Smitten Kitchen. I do quite love my basic pastry recipe, but it requires a few more ingredients and requires a careful hand. This all-butter pastry is very quick, ever-so-flaky, and hard to screw up! (And got compliments from boys who could care less about these things. Just sayin’.)

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Posted: July 10th, 2011 under Baking, Basics, Cook Books, Joni's Blog, Mains, Moderate, Recipes - 13 Comments. Tags: , , , , , , , ,