Friday, June 29, 2012

Chicken Scallopini with a twist!

(This is The Pioneer Woman's luscious pic that totally enticed me to cook this meal, over & over again)

In case you hadn't heard I am a HUGE fan of The Pioneer Woman, Ree Drummond. I love her down to earth country ranch style cooking, and her easy step by step photos are mouth wateringly gorgeous. Last year a friend an I were cooking our way through her website The Pioneer Woman - Chicken Scallopine which was alot of fun, I was out at my parents so it was easy as the recipes are usually quite generous in servings, so it feed 3 with leftovers usually or if my brother and his partner came over it fed us all to a T.

This is a very simple recipe to cook, and really really yummy, but I confess I am a mushy (mushroom) lover so that had a big influence on my votes to this one up.

By all means halve this recipe if only feeding 3-4 people.

Chicken Scallopini with a Twist

500g Packet of Linguini
4-6 Chicken Breasts
Salt & Pepper to season
1 Cup Flour
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
4 Tbsp Butter
300g (approx 2-3 cups) Mushrooms - sliced
1 cup Dry White Wine
Chicken Stock (optional)
1 whole Lemon
1/2 cup Thickened Cream (can use light or cooking cream)
2 Tbsp Parsley - chopped
Parmesan Cheese - to serve

Put a large pot of salted water on the stove top with the heat on high to get to the boil for the pasta.

Next slice and de-giblet your chicken breasts into thinner pieces and using a mallet or rolling pin to tenderise the breast between 2 plastic sheets or freezer bags, another option is to place them into ziplock bags.

Once you have your thin tenderised chicken breasts, place flour, salt and pepper into a freezer (plastic) bag, place one piece of chicken at a time into the bag and shake well, coating the chicken well. When all the chicken is coated, place them onto a dinner plate and into the fridge for half an hour for best results.

Heat a large frypan on stove top with the olive oil and butter in the plan, once melted/heated place the chicken into the fry pan and brown the chicken well on each side, this will only take approx 3-4 minutes each side as the chicken is very thin.  Remove from the pan and place the cooked chicken breasts onto a seperate plate preferably with a couple of pieces of paper towel, to assist in draining the oil off the chicken.

The butter and oil will be brown, toss in the sliced mushrooms, stir them around coating them in butter. Once all coated nicely in the butter and oil, pour in the cup of white wine (this can be substituted with chicken stock).  Next squeeze half a lemon into the pan over the mushrooms. Make sure its a juicy one, if not then squeeze in the other half, I find microwaving a lemon for 10 seconds always helps to make it pliable.

Stir the mushrooms gently so that you dont break them up.

Reduce the heat and stir through the thickened (or heavy) cream.  Crack some pepper and add a pinch of salt. Then chop a generous amount of fresh parsley and stir into the mushroom sauce. Your kitchen should smell totally delish right about now!

To plate up, place your linguine on the plate, the chicken on top to the side and then cover the dish with the mushrooms and lucious sauce, make sure you cover the pasta in plenty of sauce. Sprinkle the top of chicken with Parmesan cheese to make it extra special. Serve to your eager beavers!

Charlie & Lola.... Lola & Charlie!!

Charlie & Lola.... Lola & Charlie!!

This week I had a great cookie order, my favourite thing really! I absolutely love doing orders of cookies for people, especially when the cookie design is extra special or creative.  The instruction I had been given for it was that little Izzy was have a Charlie & Lola party, there isn’t much around in the way of party stuff, so could I come up with a suitable design for cookie favours?

Are you kidding me? Of course I can!

I decided to go with some artistic flair and do them on fondant and hand draw each one in exact duplicate. I got a good clear image and given I don’t have a projector I had to wing it free-hand!  I did a basic vanilla sugar cookie, but rolled slightly thicker than usual so I was able to push them onto lollipop sticks.  Next step with the fondant I went with an illusion of skin-tone as drawing onto the white background felt it could be too stark in contrast. A good choice I think.   Last of all, I painted on the yellow hair and blue hair ribbons.

I then went and drew each stage across all cookies in a step by step process so the duplicate of each inked line (in black edible texta) was replicated simply to minimise any error.  I drew all the Lolas first and then followed with all the Charlies.  But I went in stages of head outline, mouth, nose, hair then last of all I did the eyes as this was the defining feature I felt that made these charcters and then had to all be the same and precise!  A friend asked where Soren Lorenson was (I have to confess here that I had no idea who this person was and wondered if I wanted to at the stage of the end of completed cookies) but I soon found out thanks to google that it is Lola’s imaginary friend... a far easier image to capture in hindsight!

Price for Personalised Cookie Pops = $4.00 each
Great idea for a special party favour!

Friday, June 1, 2012

Orange Blossoms for My Mum

This year for Mother's Day I got a photoshoot done of Marley, my Brother and myself and had them professionally printed to frame for her wall. They were really gorgeous.  But I thought I would bake something special for her to enjoy through the week.

I made her some special Mothers Day Cookie Flowers in Hot Pink and Red, detailed in sanding sugar. Her is a pic of what I made.

Mum has always loved little cupcakes, the ones you bake in the scalloped cake pan without any wrappers, do you remember the kind I'm talking about? Mum especially used to bake Date Loaf or Sultana Cake mix in them and have butter on top.  So I searched for a scrummy recipe and I fell right over one... from a cute little blog called Pease Pudding at

Vanilla Bean and Orange Blossom Cake with Pistachios


200g Self Raising Flour
100g Ground Almond Meal
150g Castor Sugar (granulated sugar)
1 tsp Bi-carb Soda
250g Plain or Greek Yogurt
150ml Canola or Vegetable Oil
3 Eggs
2 Vanilla Beans - halved and scraped

Orange Blossom Syrup

1 cup Castor Sugar
1 cup Water
1 Tbsp Orange Blossom Water


1 cup Icing Sugar Mixture
2 Tbsp Milk
1 tsp Orange Blossom Water
1/2 cup Pistachios - slightly crushed

Preheat oven to 180 degrees (moderate oven). Grease and flour the cake pan.

In a large bowl sift in all dry ingredients together (flour, almond meal, sugar).  Then in the electric mixer whisk the wet ingredients together (yogurt, oil, eggs, scraped vanilla bean seeds).

Take the bowl off the electric mixer and stir the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, until just mixed in without over stirring or the raising agents will be bruised and wont work properly.

Using soup spoon (preferably), spoon the mixture into each cupcake hole. Tap pan on bench to knock out air bubbles, and place into the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes. Longer for deeper cupcakes, to test the cooked cake should be soft but bounce back at touch.

Alternative is you can bake an 8 - 10 inch round cake.

Once removed from oven you can start the syrup, so you can pour over cakes whilst still warm, the syrup will soak in best if done when cakes are warm, however if you miss this, you can heat cakes in microwave for 15-20 seconds to reheat.

For the beautiful syrup, place the sugar, water and orange blossom water into a small saucepan on medium heat.  Simmer until the sugar is fully dissolved, and reduce the liquid by a third, it will have thickened.

Pour the hot syrup over the cake/s and allow it to soak in, I find making a few holes with a skewer helps the syrup soak through.

To make the glaze/icing mix the icing sugar with milk and orange blossom water together, the icing sugar needs to be mixed in fully, and the consistency should resemble the thickness of honey. Pour over the cakes, you can use a butter knife or small cake spatula to smooth or make even. Whilst the glaze is wet, sprinkle with the pistachios and leave to allow to dry/set.