Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Baked yoghurt chicken with tomato, mint & cucumber salad

1/2 tsp Chinese five-spice powder
1 tsp chilli powder
2 tsp soy sauce
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 Tbs olive oil
200g low-fat natural yoghurt
4 x 200g skinless chicken breasts

2 Lebanese cucumbers, sliced
4 Roma (plum) tomatoes, sliced
1/2 red (Spanish) onion, finely sliced
1/4 cup mint leaves
1 Tbs olive oil
1 tsp lemon juice

In a bowl, gently fold five-spice powder, chilli powder, soy sauce, garlic and oil through yoghurt.
Coat chicken with mixture and allow to stand for at least 4 hours.
Preheat oven to 180C (350F). Line a baking dish with baking paper.
Heat a non-stick frying pan over medium heat. Add chicken and cook for 2 minutes each side.
Transfer to prepared baking dish and bake for 6-8 minutes, or until cooked through.
Remove and allow chicken to rest for 5 minutes. Carve into thick slices.
To make the salad gently toss all ingredients. Divide between 4 serving plates, then add chicken and serve.

Serves 4 for dinner

Source: The CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet

Chicken with Mustard Seed Crust and Couscous

Can be prepared in 45 minutes or less.

1 whole small skinless boneless chicken breast (1/2 pound total), halved
1 tablespoon mustard seeds
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley leaves
3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon water
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup couscous
2 teaspoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Accompaniment if desired: Carrot, Snow Pea and Red Pepper Julienne in Honey Vinaigrette

Season chicken with salt and pepper to taste. On a plate combine mustard seeds and parsley and press chicken into seed mixture, coating both sides.
In a small saucepan bring 3/4 cup water and salt to a boil. Stir in couscous and let stand,covered, off heat 5 minutes.

In a non-stick skillet heat butter over moderate heat until foam subsides and cook chicken on 1 side until golden, about 5 minutes. Turn chicken and cook, covered, over moderately low heatuntil just cooked through, about 5 minutes.

Fluff couscous with a fork and divide between 2 plates. Top couscous with chicken.

To skillet add lemon juice and remaining tablespoon water and simmer, scraping up brown bits, 1 minute.

Pour sauce over chicken and serve with carrot, snow pea, and red pepper julienne.

Serves 2.

Each serving of chicken and couscous about 365 calories and 8 grams fat (20% of calories from fat)

Source: Gourmet May 1996

Special K 26Mar03
I made this a few weeks ago and made a few substitutions. I didn't have mustard seeds so I used Dijon mustard instead. I added cumin and turmeric and served it with couscous made with stock and toasted pine nuts. Very simple mid week meal which tastes great.

Hoisin Five Spice Chicken Legs

Can be served with an Asian style slaw with these wonderful, easy chicken legs. Vegetable fried rice or even plain noodles would work well, too.

Active time: 10 min Start to finish: 40 min

4 chicken legs, thigh and drumstick separated
1/2 cup hoisin sauce
1 teaspoon Chinese five spice powder

Preheat oven to 500°F.
Put chicken in a shallow (1 inch deep) baking pan lined with foil. Stir together hoisin sauce and five spice powder and brush liberally all over chicken. Bake in upper third of oven until skin is browned and chicken is cooked through, 25 to 30 minutes.

Makes 4 servings.

Source: Gourmet, March 2000

This is a great mid-week standby as it's quick, easy and delicious. Can also be made with drumsticks, wingettes etc.

Saffron Scented Chicken Pilaf

This is delicious. I used Jalna Genuine Leben European Style Yoghurt for the marinade and about 8 cardamom seeds instead of pods because that is all I could find. The rice turned out perfectly and the toasted nuts were delicious. The dish looks amazing with yellow rice and contrasting green parsley and pistachios over the top. I'll definitely be making this again.

2 chicken breasts, diced
100g natural yogurt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
4 cups chicken stock
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 tablespoon olive oil
500g Basmati rice
1 lemon, zest and juice
3-4 cardamom pods
pine nuts
flaked almonds
1 tablespoon olive oil, extra
1/2 cup flat leaf parsley, chopped
slivered pistachios

Marinate chicken breast in yogurt and cinnamon in the refrigerator for a few hours.Stir saffron into chicken stock and set aside.Add butter and oil to a large pan. Add rice and stir until coated.
Add stock/saffron and the zest and juice of 1 lemon. Add cardamom pods and stir well.
Cover and allow to simmer for 10-15 minutes until the liquid is absorbed and the rice is cooked.
Toast cashews, pine nuts and almonds in a dry frypan until they are golden, set aside.
Take chicken out of marinade and place on a paper towel to absorb some of the marinade.
Add oil to frypan and fry chicken until golden.
Fluff up rice with a fork, grains should be separated.
Add chicken and most of the toasted nuts to the rice and toss with two forks.
Sprinkle the remaining toasted buts, parsley and pistachios over the top and serve.

Serves 6-8

Source: Nigella Lawson

Friday, April 3, 2009

The 7 Deadly Homemade Weed Killers

“And the weeds of the garden shall be visited upon the gardener.”

I'm planning on spending some time in the garden this weekend because I've been neglecting it lately and it's starting to get pretty scary out there..

Here are some fantastic cheap & safe weed killers which are supposedly guaranteed to help you eradicate the weeds you find in your if the weather holds out tomorrow I'll give a couple a try and see how they stack up.

Boiling Water - Yep, that’s right. Plain old H2O can be used as an extremely effective weed killer. As a matter of fact, boiling water is more effective than many of your store bought weed killers in wiping out unwanted vegetation. Easy-peasy to do. Put a kettle of tap water on the stove and heat till boiling, then pour on the weeds you wish to kill.You are effectively cooking the plant in the ground. Boiling water is a great way to clear out vegetation on a wholesale basis, like driveways and sidewalks. But be warned, boiling water is not selective. It will cook and instantly kill any plant that it comes in contact with and this includes underground roots of nearby plants.

Bleach - Not only is bleach a spot remover, it is a weed remover as well. Place some bleach in a spray bottle and spray on the weed you wish to remove. The bleach chemicals will evaporate or dissipate in about two days (or less but better safe than sorry), making the area safe for planting. Again, bleach will kill anything but if you do get some on a plant you want to keep, just wash the plant off.

Vinegar - Vinegar is a great organic homemade weed killer. Either white or cider vinegar will work. The acetic acid in the vinegar works to kill the leaves on the plant but not the root. Vinegar will kill back (kill the leaves but not the root) any plant but works best on young plants because they do not have enough energy stored in the roots to regrow their leaves. If vinegar is applied to more established weeds enough times, the plant will eventually deplete its stored energy reserves and die.

Salt - It was once a known war tactic to salt the fields of enemies. Salting the earth was also used as punishment for severe crimes in several countries throughout history. The reason is because salt will kill plants and will make the ground unsuitable for future plant growth. On a small scale, you can drop a small pinch of table salt at the base of the undesirable plants. It will kill the plant but will dilute down to harmless in the next few rainfalls. On a larger scale, you can cover your gravel driveway with a good amount of salt and nothing will grow there for months.

Rubbing Alcohol - is used around the house because it draws water out and helps to evaporate it quickly. Guess what? If you put it on a plant, it will do the same thing. You will be basically sucking the life blood out of the weed. Makes you want to run right out and try it, huh? But again, rubbing alcohol is non-selective. It will kill any vegetation it comes contact with.

Corn Meal (Polenta) - Corn meal doesn’t really kill weeds, it just stops the weed seeds from ever developing. Corn Gluten is a pre-emergent, which is a fancy way of saying that is it is a seed birth-control. Corn meal scattered around an area will keep any seed in that area from growing into a plant. This means a weed seed or a desirable seed. This method is a good option for areas that you plan on planting grown plants in.

Newspaper - If murdering your weeds with chemicals is not your style, you can always smother them. Laying down a layer of newspaper at least 4 sheets thick (the more the better) will go a long way towards killing the weeds underneath. The weeds that are already there will die from lack of sun and the weed seeds will not be able to sprout because they are not getting any sun to start with.

As an added bonus, many of these 7 homemade weed killers can be combined to produce super results. For example, the boiling water can be mixed with the salt or the vinegar (or both) for a super weed killer. Use common sense when combining chemicals and make sure that there are no adverse reactions.

You can also add a few drops of liquid dish soap to the liquid homemade weed killers for added effectiveness. The soap is not harmful to the weeds but the soap acts as a sort of bonding agent and will help the weed killers to stick to the weed more effectively.

Since most of these homemade weed killers are all-or-nothing weed killers, you will need to ensure that you prevent sprays and splashes on desirable plants.