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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: Roast Leg of Lamb

Makes your mouth water a little bit, doesn’t it? I was at the Bondi Farmers Market this last weekend, acting as the in-house photographer (yep, I work for the folks that run the markets at Bondi Beach & Manly Beach on weekends, it’s a great gig!), and of course had to avail myself on all of the awesome veggies and breads and goodies there. It was a great market, and I don’t say that lightly! One of the best features of my home town in Canada is its tightly knit community, which in the summer seems to revolve around the local farmers market. I’ve grown up on fresh produce and market goods, and it was difficult to reconcile myself to second rate stuff at grocery stores when I moved away for university.

Fortunately, the Foodie Revolution means that farmers markets are cropping up everywhere and flourishing too. Have you noticed this? In both Sydney and Vancouver, the two cities I’ve lived in most recently, organizations are working hard to get these markets off the ground and to be the centres of their community. I think that this will certainly happen in Bondi—this oh-so-famous part of Sydney is chock full of folks who know what’s good for themselves and for the environment. Yay Bondi! There were hundreds of people at the markets this Saturday and I hope that it stays as busy for all the Saturdays to come.

What fell into my bag? Some organic carrots, a few chocolate croissants, a delicious fruit and nut loaf, and some wholewheat flour stone-ground by hand the day before I bought it, by the man who handed me the bag (yes!). It smells like heaven and I can’t wait to get baking with it. Seriously, life just doesn’t get better than a good farmers market!

While this leg of lamb is sadly not from the farmers market, it is a darn good recipe for a Sunday afternoon roast. (Which should totally come back into fashion, by the way—talk about a little effort for a lot of food!) So read on…

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Posted: May 3rd, 2011 under Baking, Easy, Joni's Blog, Mains, Recipes, Salads - No Comments. Tags: , , , , , , , ,