Sunday, 14 December 2014

Chicken tenders with chilli, lime mayo

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Chicken tenders with chilli, lime mayo - Steph's Kitchen

It's a regular occurrence at our place to settle down to a lazy afternoon to a platter of fruit, cheeses and savoury bites. For me, I love vegetable spring rolls or homemade sausage rolls. Mr Steph is more of a chicken tenders or satay chicken kebabs sort of guy. For a little while I was picking up tenders from my local supermarket for him, but I wasn't too impressed with them and decided to create my own.

It's all about the spice mix when it comes to tenders. Mr Steph loves tenders more on the spicy side, so I created a blend of paprika and cayenne pepper in my crumb mix. But then, of course, you need a dipping sauce! You could go a simple sweet chilli sauce or a ranch dressing. We find a chilli, lime mayo couples perfectly with them.

Chicken tenders spice mix - Steph's Kitchen

They are a perfect addition to a nibbles platter, or add them into a wrap with some salad for an easy mid-week meal.

Chicken tenders with chilli, lime mayo

Serves 4

For the tenders

2 chicken breasts
1 cup milk or rice milk (for diary-free option)
2 1/2 cups breadcrumbs
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
salt and pepper

Vegetable/canola oil for frying.

For the mayo

3/4 cup whole egg mayo
2 tsp crushed chilli*
2 tsp lime juice
1 tsp vinegar

1. Mix the breadcrumbs, paprika, cayenne pepper, salt and pepper in a medium sized dish. Pour the milk or rice milk into a separate dish creating a bit of a production line for your crumbing. The milk will replace what you may know as an egg wash, which is commonly used for crumbing. Instead of the traditional egg and milk mix, I only use milk as Mr Steph is slightly allergic to eggs.

2. Cut the chicken breasts in half (short-ways), then cut each half into thick-ish strips (at least 1cm). If you have small chicken breasts you might not need to cut them in half first. How you cut them really depends on how long you want your tenders to be. I like to go for shorter tenders, so it's really up to you.

3. To make them nice and cripsy we're going to double crumb the tenders. Yes, it's exactly as it sounds. First, dip the chicken in the milk, then toss it into the breadcrumb mix. To get the best result with the coating, press the chicken into the crumbs - applying a little bit of pressure. This helps the crumbs to stick a little bit better and helps stop you losing crumbs when cooking.  Dip the chicken back into the milk, then again into the crumbs. Place aside and continue with the rest of the tenders.

4. Pour in 1cm of vegetable/canola oil into a large flying pan. You could deep fry the tenders or even back them, but I prefer to swallow fry them. Heat the oil on a medium heat (no higher or you'll burn your chicken) until you can hold your hand above the pan and feel that it's hot. Place the tenders in one by one, cooking until the chicken changes colour around the outside then turning. This should give you a nice golden colour.

Once golden on both sides, allow the tenders to dry on some paper towel.

5. The chilli, lime mayo is pretty easy to make. Simply mix all your ingredients in a small bowl and you're done.

Chicken tenders - Steph's Kitchen


Steph xo

* I buy a jar of crushed chilli at my local supermarket. You can find it in your herbs and spices section, where you'd find your minced garlic. It's great to have in the fridge, and, just like minced garlic, lasts for months. It's very handy to have!

Saturday, 15 November 2014

Banana and choc-chip muffins

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Banana and choc-chip muffins - Steph's Kitchen

If you know me (or this blog), you know that I'm really big on sweets - especially ones you can sneak into your lunch box to make the day go quicker. I'm also a  massive fan of any recipes that use food items you might consider throwing out.

These banana muffins tick both boxes. They are perfect for lunches, and the blacker the skin of the bananas you use the better the muffins taste! Plus, they can be bruised and squished and it doesn't matter. Throw in some choc-chips and everyone's happy.

Banana and choc-chip muffins cooling - Steph's Kitchen

Banana and choc-chip muffins

Makes approx 16 muffins

125g dairy-free spread (or margarine)
3/4 cup of sugar
1 tsp vanilla essence
2 eggs
2 bananas, peeled and mashed
2 cups SR flour
2/3 cup rice milk (or milk)
1/2 cup choc-chips
pinch of salt

1. Firstly, set your oven to 180 C / 350 F.

2. Cream butter and sugar with an electronic beater until fluffy. My Mum has always told me this is the secret to fluffy cakes. It has always worked for me!

3. Add vanilla, eggs and mashed banana and mix until well combined.

4. Next, alternate adding the flour and rice milk. Add 1/2 a cup of flour, followed by 1/3 cup of rice milk - beating the mixture each time until well combined.

I know you are supposed to sift flour in cakes, but honestly I never do. I'm a little lazy on this front.

5. Finally, fold through the choc-chips.

6. Place muffin cases in a standard muffin tray, and using two spoons (as shown in my pumpkin and white chocolate cupcake recipe) fill the cases around half way. If they are slightly over, that's OK too. You just want to make sure you don't fill more than two-thirds of the case.

If you want to make large, Texas sized muffins, simply use large or Texas sized cases and muffin tray. The mixture will make approx 16 standard sized muffins or 10 large muffins.

7. Place your muffins in the oven for 15-20 mins.
Straight from the oven: Banana choc-chip muffins - Steph's Kitchen

Steph xo

Saturday, 4 October 2014

PB and J pancakes

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Peanut butter and jam pancakes - Steph's Kitchen

I don't know about you, but I LOVE peanut butter and jam sandwiches or toast.  It's so simple but oh, so good! Here in Australia we don't have the traditional fruit jelly those in the US have. I'm sure I can get it, but, being of English heritage, I grew up with a wide assortment of jams.

One morning Mr Steph and I were tossing around breakfast ideas.

"How about apple pie pancakes again? I really feel like that with butterscotch sauce," said Mr Steph.
"Sorry, hun. I'm out of butter ... " I said regrettably. "I really like the idea of pancakes, though ..."

I started thinking about different variations. I threw out the idea of Nutella pancakes, but Mr Steph didn't feel like it. Then I thought, why not create a pancake that tastes like something else Mr Steph loves: Peanut butter and jam.

It turned out a treat!

PB and J pancakes - Steph's Kitchen

PB and J pancakes

Makes approx 8 large pancakes or 12 medium pancakes

For the pancake batter

1 egg
1 1/4 cups milk or rice milk
1/2 cup plain flour
1 cup SR flour
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup crunchy peanut butter

For the jam or strawberry coulis (sauce)

200 g frozen sliced strawberries. Fresh strawberries are OK also. If using fresh, add a tiny bit of water (no more than 1 Tbsp) to make more of a sauce, otherwise it'll just be a jam. As the strawberries cook, they will create their own liquid.

1/4 cup white sugar

Get your strawberry coulis on first. If you've never made one before, you'll find yourself making this all the time after this - adding it to ice cream, crepes or letting it go cold for a quick jam. You can use this same ratio or technique for any kind of berry sauce you'd like to make, such as blueberries or raspberries.

Add the strawberries and sugar (water also if using fresh strawberries) over a low heat. Allow to simmer and cook away while you make your pancakes, stirring every couple of minutes. Once the sauce is thick but still has a decent amount of liquid, turn it off and simply let it sit. If it's ready a while before the pancakes are done, simply add it back to the heat for a couple of minutes before serving so it's nice and hot.

For the batter, add all your dry ingredients into a bowl. Whisk up your egg in a small jug, adding your milk and mixing together. Create a well or hollow in your dry ingredients, and pour the milk and egg mixture into the centre. Mix to combine into a thick batter.

Now the magic ingredient: the peanut butter.

There's a couple of ways to add peanut butter into things. You can add it straight in, whisking until it combines - or whack it into the microwave for 20 seconds to soften it slightly. However you choose, mix the peanut butter into the batter until it's well combined. You want the batter to be thick but also still pourable. if you find it's too thick, add a little bit more milk until it gets to the consistency you like.

In a large pan, add in a little bit of butter over a medium heat. Once melted, swirl the butter around the pan so that the base is  well coated. To make large pancakes, take a 1/2 a cup measurement of batter and pour it into the pan. For medium size, use a 1/4 measurement.Using measurements like this also helps you get pancakes the same size and shape each side.

You know you're ready to flip the pancake
when bubbles appear across the surface.
The biggest problem people have with pancakes is knowing when to flip them, ending up with burnt pancakes or batter going everywhere in the pan once flipped. The trick is to look for bubbles appearing on the surface of the pancake. You are looking for small bubbles to appear all over, not  just around the edges.

Once flipped, the pancake will only need a little over a minute to be cooked on the other side. Remove the cooked pancake from the pan, add in more butter and another scope of pancake mixture.

Continue scoping the mixture until all the mixture is used, making sure to stir your strawberry sauce every so often.

You can plate your pancakes however you'd like. For the real peanut butter lovers, you could even spread some between each pancake. I know Mr Steph is just obsessed - eating it off spoons if I let him. If you love sweets like I do, you might want to add a little bit of sauce between each one or just add the sauce on top. Either way, you will have the family licking the plate clean!

Steph xo


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