06 August 2013

Cooking adventures

Crockpot Cashew Chicken
Apple Crumb Cake
Tuna and Caper Salad
Keeping green onions fresh

Tonight I tried two new recipes, and what do you know - they both worked!

First, one of those "share and save it to your wall" recipes from Facebook. Some recipes are genuine, some; however, a simply a 'plot' to get a lot of page likes so they can sell the page for bizarre amounts of money. Still this one sounded okay and I thought I'd try it.

Crockpot Cashew Chicken

1 kg (2 lbs) boneless, skinless chicken thigh tenders or chicken breast tenders
1/4 cup plain (all purpose) flour
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 Tbsp oil
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 Tbsp rice wine vinegar
2 Tbsp tomato sauce (ketchup)
1 Tbsp brown sugar
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 tsp grated fresh ginger
1/4 tsp chilli (red pepper) flakes
1/2 cup cashews

Combine flour and pepper in large bag. Add chicken. Shake to coat with flour mixture. Heat oil in skillet over medium-high heat. Brown chicken about 2 minutes on each side. Place chicken in slow cooker. Combine soy sauce, vinegar, ketchup, sugar, garlic, ginger, and pepper flakes in small bowl; pour over chicken. Cook on LOW for 3 to 4 hours. Add cashews and stir. Serve over rice. Makes 4-6 servings.
If you like the sauce and want to have some to pour over the chicken and the rice, double the sauce ingredients.

  • Use larger pieces of chicken, say about 2 inch cubes. 
  • I added fresh tumeric; I add it to everything I can because it's good for you. 
  • The shorter cooking time in the slow cooker is a bonus if you're at home mid-afternoon. 
  • I probably wouldn't be doubling the recipe to get sauce, I think it would be far too strong a taste. I think you could possibly add 1/4 to 1/2 cup of stock or water in the last hour or so of cooking to create a sauce that wasn't overpowering.

  • I forgot to take a photo, this one (for exactly the same recipe) is from Favourite Family Recipes. Mine turned out a fair bit darker and less "clean" looking.

    Apple Crumb Cake
    Second dish of the night was Apple Crumb Cake. I had a hankering for apple cake and my CWA cook book let me down. Unbelievable that the country women of this country didn't cook apple cakes. I was thinking about cinnamony tea cake thing we cooked in home ec all those decades ago. When I went looking for recipes; however, I found an apple tea cake with a crumb topping and I was reminded of a MASH episode in which BJ receives a Dutch apple crumb cake from Peggy. Enough coincidences for me.

    The recipe is on Taste.com.au - Apple Tea Cake Recipe.

    My comments on the cake: I used 'ras el hanout' instead of cinnamon. I love this spice mix. I was introduced to it by Vanilla Zulu; Mel uses it in brownies (divine). I've used it before in apple crumble. It works really well with apples.

    I created the crumble mix in the blender. I use the blender for my apple crumble topping and scones (just the flour and butter stage) as well. I find it works just as well rubbing the butter in by hand, if not better. And it's certainly a lot quicker.

    I wasn't sure from the instructions if the apples were supposed to be wedges or slices. In the end I decided on wedges (8 per small apple). I put most of them around the outside, based on a comment from another cook, and a few in the centre. It seems to have worked well.

    This time I did remember to take a photo. A little easier, because we didn't eat it all in one sitting.

    Tuna and Caper Salad
    And while we're discussing food. Lunch yesterday. I don't dislike tuna. Weirdly, I just dislike the idea of tuna. I look at the tin and think, "blurgh, thanks but no thanks". If I actually eat it, hey, it's okay. Yesterday, I was inspired - tuna and capers. I love, love, love capers. Not caper berries. Capers are the flower buds of the Capparis spinosa plant that have been salted and pickled. Caper berries are bigger and are the fruit, also salted and pickled. My thought process was, if I put capers in tuna it would have to improve it. Mmmmm. My recipe - one small tin of flaky tuna in springwater, a spoonful of capers, a couple of cherry tomatoes quartered, a stalk of spring onion (or green onion or shallots, depending on what you call them), and a few shredded leaves of basil. Mix. Yummy.

    Keeping Spring/Green Onions/Shallots
    And finally, a hint for storing spring onions/green onions/shallots. When you buy a bunch of onions, pick ones with long roots still attached. If you're a disciplined type, you can stick the bunch into a glass of water. Change the water every day and rinse the onions. When you use an onion, cut it about an inch from the roots. It will regrow. If, on the other hand, you're like me and not so disciplined. Set a small flower on pot on the kitchen window and replant the onions when you buy them. Same thing - cut the onion about an inch from the top of the dirt. The onion will regrow, often several times.

    I often buy spring onions, use two or three stalks from the bunch, and the rest ends up drying out in the fridge (or going slimy). This way, my onions keep for weeks, if not months. Plus I get a second and often even a third regrowth from a single bunch.

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