Saturday, September 6, 2008

Wrapped Asparagus Chicken

A delicious make-ahead meal of boneless chicken breasts and canned asparagus wrapped in filo pastry - oven-baked until crisp and golden. Recipe serves 4.


Salt and freshly ground pepper
4, approximately 6 1/2 ounce (200 g) chicken fillets, or boned breasts, skin removed
4 ounces (125 g) butter
2 large cloves garlic, crushed
14 ounce (440 g) can asparagus spears, drained, liquid reserved
8 sheets filo pastry
Asparagus Sauce:
14 ounce (440 g) can cream of asparagus soup
1/4 cup white wine
1/4 cup cream
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard


1. Season chicken fillets with salt and pepper.
2. Melt butter in a frying pan. Add garlic and chicken fillets. Cook for 5 minutes, turning to lightly brown both sides. Remove, set aside.
3. Brush a sheet of filo pastry with garlic butter, then layer with another sheet of pastry. Place chicken fillet in center and top with 4 or 5 asparagus spears.
4. Fold in edges and roll up into a parcel. Place on flat baking tray and brush with butter. Repeat process with remaining ingredients.
5. Bake in a moderate oven at 350 degrees F (180 degrees C) for 20 minutes. Increase temperature to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C) and bake for a further 5 minutes or until golden brown.
6. Meanwhile, combine sauce ingredients in a pan, adding reserved asparagus liquid. Stir over moderately high heat until sauce boils. Season with pepper.

Serve chicken with sauce. Accompany with oven-baked stuffed whole tomatoes and parsley-tossed, drained and heated canned baby carrots.

Ground Beef with Savoy Cabbage

This hearty and easy to make ground beef and cabbage stir-fry is the ideal dinner for cold winter months. Recipe serves 4.


10 ounces (315 g) Savoy cabbage
1 large onion
8 ounces (250 g) oyster mushrooms
1/4 cup sunflower or corn oil
3 cloves garlic
1 pound (500 g) lean ground (minced) beef
Salt to taste
Freshly milled pepper to taste
Paprika to taste
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1/2 cup beef stock
Pinch of caster sugar


1. Separate cabbage leaves and remove pieces of hard stalk from each. Wash leaves well, drain thoroughly and shred with sharp knife.
2. Peel and halve onion and cut each half into thin slices.
3. Wipe mushrooms with absorbent kitchen paper, but do not wash. Cut flesh into thin strips.
4. Heat oil in wok until very hot, but not smoking. Add onion and stir-fry fairly gently until they begin to look transparent. Crush garlic directly into the hot oil.
5. Mix in beef and stir-fry briskly until brown and crumbly. Season generously with salt, pepper and paprika. Remove to bowl with draining spoon.
6. Add cabbage to remaining oil in wok and stir-fry for 4 minutes.
7. Add mushrooms to wok and mix well with cabbage. Stir-fry for 5 minutes. Moisten with soy sauce and stock. Add sugar and adjust seasoning.
8. Return beef to wok and combine with vegetables. Reheat until hot.
9. Serve with long grain rice.

Coconut Pork

An easy and deliciously creamy pan-fried pork fillet dish with a hint of curry spices and coconut. Recipe serves 4-6.


13 fl oz (375 ml) can evaporated milk
1/2 cup dessicated coconut
1 pound (500 g) pork fillets, trimmed, cut into 1/4 inch (5 mm) thick slices
1 large onion, peeled, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon curry powder
1 teaspoon each cumin and paprika
1 teaspoon salt
14 ounce (440 g) can unsweetened pineapple pieces
2 red dessert apples, cored, cut into thin wedges


1. Place coconut in a food processor. Bring evaporated milk to boiling point, stirring constantly, over a moderate heat.
2. With the motor running, pour hot milk over coconut. Blend for 1 minute.
3. Strain the mixture over a bowl, pressing out as much milk as possible. Set aside, reserve coconut.
4. Melt butter in a large frying pan. Fry pork, onion, spices and salt over a high heat, stirring constantly, for 5 minutes.
5. Stir in pineapple pieces until boiling. Reduce heat, simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
6. Stir in apple wedges, 3 tablespoons reserved coconut and the milk. Simmer a further 3-4 minutes.

Serve with boiled rice, fried poppadoms, cashew nuts, chutney and sliced bananas tossed in lemon juice.