Friday, September 5, 2008

Honey Chicken Muffins

Each one virtually a pocket-sized meal, savory muffins are great to make ahead and freeze, individually wrapped in aluminum foil. Pop them into your lunch bag in the morning and they will be thawed by midday. Recipe makes 12 muffins.


Non-stick cooking spray
1 cup unsifted all-purpose (plain) flour
1 cup polenta
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 tablespoon dry mustard
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
2 cups coarsely chopped cooked chicken
1 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 large egg whites
2 tablespoons honey


1. Preheat the oven to 380 degrees F (190 degrees C). Coat 12 medium-sized muffin cups with non-stick cooking spray. In a large bowl, stir together the flour, polenta, baking powder, mustard and bicarbonate of soda. Stir in the chicken and make a well in the center of the mixture.
2. In a 2-cup capacity (500 ml) measuring jug, stir together the buttermilk, oil, egg whites and honey. Pour the liquid into the dry ingredients and stir just until combined.
3. Fill each muffin cup about 1/4 full. Bake for 20 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the center comes clean. Will keep, wrapped in aluminium foil and refrigerated, for 2 days.

Potato and Poppyseed Focaccia

This recipe is open to many variations in flavor. Fresh or dried herbs may be kneaded into the dough, or you could try sprinkling it with sesame seeds or sliced olives instead of poppyseeds. The mashed potato adds moisture to the bread. Serves 4.


2 cups all-purpose (plain) flour
1 tablespoon dried yeast
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/3 cups mashed potato
1/4 cup warm water
1/3 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons semolina
1 egg, lightly beaten
Salt and white pepper, to taste
2 teaspoons poppyseeds


1. Sift flour into large mixing bowl. Add yeast, sugar, salt and mashed potato. Pour in combined water and oil. Using a knife or spatula, mix to a soft dough.
2. Turn dough onto a well-floured surface, knead for 10 minutes, until smooth. Sprinkle surface with more flour as necessary. Shape into a ball, place into a large, lightly oiled mixing bowl. Leave, covered with plastic wrap, in a warm place for 30 minutes, until well risen.
3. Preheat oven to moderate 350 degrees F (180 degrees C). Knead dough again for 5 minutes. Sprinkle the base of a greased 9 inch (23 cm) square cake tin with semolina. Press dough into tin with floured hands. With a skewer, prick four rows of four holes into dough. Cover with plastic wrap and leave in a warm place for a further 20 minutes, until well risen. Brush lightly with the beaten egg and sprinkle with poppyseeds. Bake 40 minutes, until golden brown. Turn focaccia onto a wire rack to cool.

Mediterranean-Style Braised Lettuce

The beauty of this tasty vegetable side dish is in the quick cooking. Serve Braised Lettuce with barbecued fish or chicken. Recipe serves 4.


12 large cos lettuce leaves
1/3 cup olive oil
1/2 red pepper (capsicum), cut into fine matchstick strips
2 spring onions, cut into 1/2 inch (1 cm) pieces
1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 teaspoons crumbled feta cheese
1/3 teaspoon cracked black pepper


1. Tear each lettuce leaf into four pieces. Heat oil in medium pan; add pepper. Stir over low heat for 1 minute.
2. Add lettuce to pan, toss over high heat 1 minute or until leaves are well coated with oil. Remove lettuce from pan. Reduce heat to low.
3. Add spring onions, chives and juice to pan; cook covered for 30 seconds. Remove pan from heat.
4. Combine lettuce and spring onion mixture. Place on serving plate. Sprinkle feta with black pepper. Serve warm or cold.

Tip: It is important to have all the ingredients on hand before beginning to cook, as prolonged cooking causes the lettuce to develop a bitter flavor and lose color.