#Banting Coconut Chicken Bites

You know, the thing I enjoy about Banting, is that it really let’s you be creative. You can use all the delicious things you want: bacon, butter, cream, etc. and nothing needs to be steamed or tasteless – bleh. {Just make sure you use the right fats!}

Anyways, so these chicken bites are my adaptation from The Real Meal Revolution’s coconut fish bites.

They’re just the thing for a light lunch or a snack, or as an appetizer.
Also a goodie for lunch boxes!

You will need:

Boneless chicken breasts, cut into strips
Desiccated coconut
2 eggs, beaten
Coconut oil for frying
Curried mayo
Freshly ground Himalayan pink salt

You will need to use about 2 tbs coconut oil to shallow fry the chicken.
Season the chicken strips with salt and let it sit for a few minutes while you prep the mayo.
Heat the oil, then dip the chicken strips in the egg and then the coconut. Fry over medium heat until both sides are a nice golden brown.

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Serve with the curried mayo and a small herb salad. You could also make a fab fresh salsa:
Diced papaya
Diced green pepper
Diced tomato
Diced red onion
Olive oil
Red wine vinegar
Salt
Small diced red chili {optional}

Enjoy! X

Winter Warmer Soup

What better soul food for cold winter nights than soup?
I could never make soup for the life of me! My mother makes the most delicious, hearty soups and I would always try my hand at it, but could never get it right…
It would usually taste like tepid dishwater with a few veggies floating around in it! Am I making you salivate yet..? Hehe! Well, thankfully I’ve learnt a thing or two and can now make a decent {and rather tasty, if I may say so myself!} soup.
Here’s my delicious recipe for a hearty cauliflower, chicken & bacon soup:

You will need:
2 chicken carcasses {cooked, leftover from roast chicken, with some meat still on the bone}
1 celery stalk, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
1 onion, chopped
Coconut oil
2 bay leaves
3 peppercorns
Salt
Water
1 head of cauliflower, broken into florets
250g streaky bacon
3 sprigs of thyme
1 cup of cream

Start by sautéing the onions in coconut oil until soft, then add the celery and onions. Sauté a bit more and then add the chicken, thyme, bay leaves, peppercorns and enough water to cover the chicken halfway.
Let it all simmer away happily for a few hours. Taste it and season with salt accordingly.
{I didn’t use any stock, because the chicken creates the stock, but you could use it if you wanted to.}

Once the broth has properly mingled and the chicken has started to fall off the bone, add the cauliflower florets and cook until tender.
In the meantime, place the bacon in an oven tray and grill until cooked. Let it cool and then chop into bits. Don’t discard the fat!

When the cauliflower is cooked, carefully remove it from the broth and blitz it with a stick blender until smooth. Add the cream and blitz it again.
Add the cauliflower to the broth and stir it through. Add the bacon and drizzle with the fat.

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Perfect for a cold winter’s night – it’s so filling and oh-so-comforting! The kids loved it too.
Enjoy! X

Caprese {stuffed} Chicken

Call me a fanatic, but I do love a caprese salad! The simple, yet bold flavours just speak to me.
I love the classics in general; I was just telling a friend the other day about how I switched from my ever-trusty Essie Mademoiselle nail varnish {super safe and classic – a nude if you like} to a more daring {!!} nude…with a hint of glitter! How wild!
My best friend also always jokes that her mom and I always go for the same outfits and we both love navy! {I’m not allowed to buy another navy coat this winter..!}
But, in my defense, her mom dresses great and navy will always be a classic.

Such is the caprese, it will always be fab and you can never go wrong – it’s a definite classic!
So, just to liven things up a bit, I decided to do a different version of the caprese – a hot version with chicken.

You will need:
6 chicken breasts, boneless {skin on or off, but to be honest I think on would be better, but what a mission to find! And when you do find it, it’s not boneless?!}
12 thin slices of mozzarella cheese
Plain cream cheese
12 basil leaves
Olive oil
Butter
Salt & pepper
Small rosa tomatoes
A handful of pine nuts, toasted

Start by slicing open the chicken breasts, but don’t cut them all the way through, it should look like a little open book, and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Now, get a good chunk of butter and a splash of olive oil heated in a large pan and gently cook the inside of the chicken breast. {With the open side facing down in the pan.} This will ensure that the chicken cooks more easily and doesn’t become bone-dry. You just want the inside to be slightly cooked and golden, not cooked all the way through.
Remove from the pan and then start stuffing the chicken:
Spread a dollop of cream cheese
Sprinkle with the toasted pine nuts
Place basil leaves
Place slices of cheese
Close them up and tie with string
Return these to the hot pan and cook until the outside of the chicken is golden brown.
Remove them again and set aside.
Add more olive oil to the same pan and add the tomatoes {keep them whole}. Cook on low heat until the tomatoes have gone soft and formed a reddish oil. Return the stuffed chicken to the tomatoes in the pan and let everything heat through.

So delicious- enjoy!

{Serve it with cauli mash or a simple broccoli salad: baby salad leaves with wild rocket, watercress and lightly steamed broccoli, drizzled with olive oil and lemon juice.}

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Chicken & Apricot Terrine

This terrine cost me my blender! Oh how I do need a food processor… {that and my ice cream maker!}
Luckily I managed to blitz up the goodies just in time, just as the smoke started to bellow from my trusty blender.
This recipe is from Sarie Kos – my favourite Afrikaans food magazine and I’ve been eyeing it for a while now. It seemed more tricky to make than it actually was.

You will need:
4 bay leaves {per pan}
3 sprigs of thyme {per pan}
Streaky bacon {enough to line 2x loaf pans plus extra to go on top – about 500g}
1 egg
500g pork mince
1 onion, finely chopped
1 handful parsley
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
250g chicken livers
Salt & black pepper
200g Turkish apricots, roughly chopped
400g Kassler chops, chopped
2 chicken breasts, skin removed and chopped

Preheat oven to 180C. Line 2x loaf pans with cling wrap and place the bay leaves and thyme at the bottom of each pan, on top of the cling wrap. Next, place the strips of bacon into the pan with the edges hanging over the pan.
In a FOOD PROCESSOR {do not ruin your blender!}, blend the onion, mince, egg, chicken livers, parsley and garlic to a smooth consistency. Season with salt & pepper.
Mix this with the chops, chicken and apricots and scoop into the pans. Cover with more bacon.
Cover the pans with foil, place in a Bain Marie {oven tray filled with water} and bake for 90minutes. Let it cool in the oven and then refrigerate overnight.
Once all set and chilled, slice thick slices and enjoy with a fresh herb salad and some mustard.
{I got two terrines from this recipe and it lasted such a long time! The more it ‘matured’ in the fridge, the better it tasted. It kept for about a week and a half before we finished it and it was absolutely fine. Will definitely make this one again and try out different variations.}
Enjoy!

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Honey & orange glazed chicken

I recently bought some chickens from a farmers market – proper free-range farm chickens… Well they reminded me of the chickens we used to get in India, quite tough! Anyways, so there goes my grand ideal of eating proper free-range chickens… Although I must say that a bit of marinating helps a LOT!

Anyways, this honey & orange glazed chicken is not a farm chicken… {it’s funny though how much a free-range chicken from your favourite supermarket differs from one bought directly from the farm… I guess they just run around and have a better and more active life on the farm!} I will still try and eat proper free-range chickens as much as possible and just marinade it {with my own homemade marinade of course} – a small price to pay for wholesome goodness and a clear conscience!

The difference between shop-bought ‘free-range’ eggs and proper free-range eggs from our little hen is also quite amazing!

 

Honey & orange glazed chicken

You will need:

1 whole chicken

1 orange

1 tbs honey

freshly ground sea salt

8 carrots

Peel and cut carrots into quarters {length-wise} and place them in a casserole.

Place the whole chicken on top of the carrots and brush with the orange juice {squeezed from the orange!} and honey. Sprinkle with salt and bake at 180C for about an hour or until golden and cooked.

Serve with fresh salad leaves.

Enjoy! X

Pineapple Roast Chicken & Papaya Salad

Some people are totally against using fruit in salads or any other main dishes… Not me! I love it! You can do so much – use it in salads, with meats and chicken. It does depend on the fruit, but I do think it really complements meat dishes, just take apples & pork as an example. I’ve been quite inspired by pineapples lately and made a {totally delicious, if I may say so myself..!} pineapple & thyme roast chicken. You will need: 1 whole chicken 1 medium pineapple {peeled & core removed, blitzed in blender} 5 sprigs of thyme freshly ground sea salt & black pepper olive oil Rub the chicken with olive oil and season with salt & pepper. Remove the leaves from 2 of the sprigs of thyme and add to the pineapple. Pour the pineapple slush over the chicken and let it marinade for about an hour before roasting. Pre-heat oven to 180C. Place the remaining 3 thyme sprigs on top of the chicken and roast for an hour until golden and cooked. For the papaya salad: Fresh papaya cubes Fresh basil leaves Grilled plain Halloumi cheese, cubed Sweet corn kernels Chorizo sausages, sliced & grilled Mix together and serve with the pineapple roast chicken. {The natural juice from the papaya is all you need in terms of a dressing!} A perfect Summers dinner – just simple, tasty and fresh! Enjoy! X Papaya & Halloumi salad Pineapple & thyme roast chicken

Mediterranean Chicken

I’m suffering from blog-withdrawal! It’s been 5 days since I’ve posted anything, but I’m back now! {We’re going through a rough patch of sleep-training with the boys…}

Anyhoo, so I wanted to dedicate this entire {or most of it in any case} week to terrines and even though they are not at all tricky to make,they do require some planning ahead. You cannot just decide at lunchtime, oh let’s have terrine for dinner… Perhaps I will make one later today for tomorrow.

Right – so, to get back to my Mediterranean chicken – here it is, roast chicken with Roma tomatoes, garlic, capers and fresh basil.

I just love the simple flavours of the Mediterranean, where you actually taste the goodness of each ingredient. We spent a month sailing in Turkey when I was younger and I have some of my best food memories from there! We would have the simplest lunch of just roasted peppers in olive oil, tomatoes, lettuce, feta cheese and freshly baked bread. Perhaps some olives too. Dinner at little seaside cafés would be a choice of fish, chicken or lamb {most probably goat!} served with salty roasted potatoes and a lettuce salad. It would be so tasty because everything is fresh and naturally organic. Oh and of course they have fresh bread and olive oil with just about everything!

You will need the following for my Med chicken:

1 whole chicken, butterflied

3 or 4 cloves of garlic, kept whole and in their skin

a handful of fresh basil, roughly chopped

1 punnet {probably around 400g} of small Roma tomatoes {cherry tomatoes will also do but make sure you use red and juicy tomatoes}

freshly ground sea salt

olive oil

capers

To butterfly your chicken, use a sharp large chef’s knife to cut out the back bone. You will need to press down on the chicken to break the necessary bones and allow it to be flat. Remove the entire backbone and open up the chicken with the cavity facing down into the baking dish.

Rub the chicken with olive oil and give a generous sprinkle of ground sea salt. Scatter the tomatoes & capers all around the chicken and add the whole garlic cloves.

Bake for an hour at 180C until cooked, golden & crispy. Sprinkle with chopped basil just before serving.

 

 

 

Mediterranean Chicken

Enjoy! X

Bacon-wrapped, goats cheese-stuffed chicken

My husband always says that chicken is a vegetable – he worked in the Northen Cape on a project for a while and there they really didn’t eat salads or veggies – their veg was chicken..! I know, right?!

I used to cook chicken so often – and especially chicken breasts, that he would get teased by a friend at work about getting chicken for lunch almost everyday. I haven’t actually made chicken breasts in a while – it can be quite boring sometimes, and I hate dry chicken. I’m not one for saucy dishes either, I would rather have a sauce on the side that I can add to the dish as I please. Anyways, so this dish is great because the chicken is moist and the bacon also adds extra flavour.

So that would make tonight’s dinner almost vegetarian, apart from the bacon…

6 chicken breasts, sliced open halfway

olive oil

butter

baby spinach leaves (3 per chicken breast)

sage leaves (5 per chicken breast)

salt & pepper, freshly ground

goats cheese (2 slices per chicken breast)

streaky bacon (2 strips per chicken breast)

Start off by heating a glug of olive oil and about a tbs of butter in a pan. Season one side of the chicken breasts (open them up so they lie flat) and flash-fry on the inside. The chicken will cook much quicker when the inside is already partly cooked, plus you get extra flavour from the browning of the chicken on the inside. If you don’t flash-fry the inside, you will be left with a very dry breast, trying to get the whole thing cooked through.

Just brown the one side slightly – don’t cook all the way through.  Remove from heat.

Place spinach leaves, sage & goats cheese on the cooked inside and season with salt. Wrap in bacon and secure with a toothpick.

Fry until golden & cooked through.

Serve with asparagus – blanched, with a drizzle of lemon juice, salt & a dollop of butter.

Enjoy! X

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The ‘Golden’ Egg

After weeks (months) of patiently waiting for our chickens to lay their eggs, we were pleasantly surprised yesterday with two little eggs inside the coop!

Yay! It felt as if I had ‘laid’ them myself, I was so proud! I just don’t know which chicken it came from… We have 5 original hens, but they’re actually still 2 weeks away from laying, and then we have another hen, she’s a bit older, who probably laid these eggs.  Anyways, I suppose it doesn’t really matter who did it!

The eggs are a bit smaller than I would have expected, but apparently they get bigger – hooray!  I fried the eggs for breakfast this morning and oh my, what yummy eggs they were!! A golden yolk, so vibrantly golden, and perfectly fresh whites, not too runny. Even though they were smaller than regular shop-bought ‘free range’ (yeah right!) eggs, they tasted a hundred times better!

I made shop-bought eggs as well, and hubby and I each got one of each type of egg so we could compare. The difference is quite remarkable. I SO cannot wait for more eggs – imagine how yummy custard would be – or an omelette or anything using eggs!

Here’s to dozens and dozens of yummy, hearty, golden eggs! X

Our first eggs!

Our Veggie Garden!

I’m so excited about our veggie garden! We’ve started to plant a few seeds – mielies (corn), carrots, beets and spinach, as well as some herbs – sage, coriander, basil, dill and watercress.

Our thieving chickens are pecking up all the seedlings – grrr – but some of them are still hanging in there. Hubby is fencing off our veggie patch tomorrow and hopefully the chickens will stay out!

Anyways, as this is our first attempt at becoming more self sustainable, we will see how it goes and then go from there. (I love plants and growing herbs, but to be honest, nothing survives for very long at my hands… {blush})

I found a really great blog about growing your own vegetables:  www.its-our-life-for-six.blogspot.com

So inspiring – I hope our veggies will turn out as beautiful as theirs!

Here’s a peek into our garden (remember nothing has sprouted yet!):

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The compost heap was made from old pallets (yes – another one for Pinterest!) and we filled them with horse manure, as well as all the fruit & veg off cuts from the kitchen. Holes were made into the heap by placing thick wooden poles down the middle and then removing them – for ventilation.

The veggie patch fencing is made from off cuts of wood we had lying around – well, it came from an old shed that was taken down. Hubby sawed all the pieces to size and then timbered them all together to form these fab picket fences. We saved about R5000 by making them ourselves – whoop whoop!

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My wish for our little seedlings: grow baby grow!

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