It sits there looking at me, a beautiful picture on the cover of this book, The Australian Women’s Weekly Family Favourites, of macaroni and cheese with olives. I’m all for macaroni and cheese, but want mine without olives because I’m not a fan. But I did not buy this book for the macaroni and cheese recipes, I bought it because the AWW do good cook books, and it was on sale so it didn’t cost me much.
The recipes were tasty and not too complicated. I do have some minor gripes about the roast chicken, and the gnocchi which I’ll cover in the notes after that, but otherwise the recipes were fairly straight forward and not too difficult to make. Three out of 5 stars.
Crispy-skinned roast chicken with tomato braised beans
- 2kg chicken
- 1 medium lemon, quartered
- 6 sprigs fresh thyme
- 6 cloves garlic, unpeeled
- 60g butter, softened
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh thyme
- 1 cup water
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 medium brown onion, chopped coarsley
- 1kg green beans, trimmed
- 4 medium tomatoes (600g) chopped coarsley
- Preheat oven to 200C/180C fan forced
- Tuck wing tips under chicken. Fill cavity with lemon, thyme sprigs and garlic, fold skin over to enclose filling; secure with toothpicks. Tie legs together with kitchen string.
- Combine butter, juice, crushed garlic and chopped thyme in small bow; rub butter mixture all over chicken.
- Place chicken on oiled rack in large backing dish; pour the water into dish. Roast about 2 hours, basting occasionally with pan juices.
- Meanwhile, heat oil in large saucepan; cook onion, stirring, until onion softens. Add beans and tomato; cook, covered, stirring occasionally, about 20 minutes or until vegetables soften slightly.
- Serve chicken with beans
Notes on this recipe:
- Have you ever tried to mix butter and a liquid when the butter is only soft and not liquid itself? It doesn’t work too well. So I ended up with butter and lemon juice. Not helpful.
- I cooked this in my Romatoff clay pot because it is awesome, so I didn’t baste it, nor did I use the water in the baking dish as that isn’t required with a clay pot.
- The accompanying bean dish was well a bit boring. It would have been greatly improved with either some spices or herbs that compliment the thyme in the chicken, or even with the addition of some roasted nuts such as slivered almonds or pine nuts.
Gnocchi with Roasted Kumara, Spinach and Pine Nuts
- 1.5 kg potatoes
- 1/4 cup milk
- 1 clove garlic, crushed
- 3 egg yolks
- 1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 1/2 cups plain flour
- 2 medium kumara (sweet potato) (800g), cut into 1cm pieces
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 200g unsalted butter, chopped
- 3 medium tomatoes (450g), chopped finely
- 3/4 cup loosely packed fresh sage leaves
- 60g baby spinach leaves
- 1/2 cup flaked Parmesan cheese
- 1/3 cup roasted pine nuts
- Boil, team or microwave whole, unpeeled potatoes until tender; drain. Cool potatoes for 10 minutes; peel. Mash potatoes through ricer or mouli into large bowl; stir in milk and garlic. Stir in egg yolks, grated cheese and flour.
- Roll one-quarter of dough on floured board into 2cm-thick sausage; cut into 2cm lengths. Press each piece of dough against back of fork. Place gnocchi on floured tray. Repeat with remaining dough. Cover gnocchi; refrigerate 1 hour.
- Preheat oven to 200C/180C fan-forced
- Combine kumara and half the oil in shallow medium baking dish; roast about 30 minutes or until tender.
- Meanwhile, cook gnocchi, in batches, in large saucepan of boiling water until gnocchi float to surface, drain.
- Melt butter in medium frying pan with the remaining oil; cook tomatoes and sage, stirring, 2 minutes or until tomato softens slightly and butter is browned slightly.
- Combine gnocchi, kumara, tomato mixture and remaining ingredients in large bowl. You can serve gnocchi sprinkled with extra flaked Parmesan.
Notes on this recipe:
- Despite my grumbles below, this dish tasted absolutely amazing. It’s not exactly healthy, and if I were to make this again I would reduce the butter by at least 50%, but it certainly tastes awesome.
- I find it hard to buy perfectly uniformly sized potatoes and so am not confident in steaming, boiling or microwaving 1.5kgs of potato until tender. So I peeled mine and then boiled it for approximately 20 minutes. I don’t know if this caused the next problem.
- 1.5kgs of potato makes a huge amount of pasta. When I got to the “refrigerate 1 hour”, I put the gnocchi on a plate, then put some waxed paper on top of the first layer, made another layer, etc until I had run out of gnocchi. After the refrigeration time had passed the first layer neatly lifted off the waxed paper, but the rest had stuck and were a complete mess. I’m not sure how you’re supposed to refrigerate 1.5kgs of freshly made gnocchi (multiple trays perhaps), and I’m not sure how much boiling the potatoes peeled and chopped into pieces made a difference. The assumption that you knew how to refrigerate that much freshly made pasta and had sufficient fridge space was an interesting one to make.
White Chocolate and Raspberry Croissant Pudding
- 5 croissants, sliced thinly
- 1/3 cup raspberry jam
- 100g white eating chocolate, chopped coarsley
- 1 cup raspberries
- 1 1/2 cups cream
- 1 1/4 cups milk
- 1/3 cup caster sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 4 eggs
- Preheat oven to 160C/140C (fan-forced)
- Make custard (see below)
- Grease shallow 2-litre ovenproof dish. Layer croissant slices, overlapping slightly, in dish; dollop spoonfuls of jam over slices. Sprinkle with chocolate and berries. Pour custard over the top.
- Place dish in large baking dish; add enough boiling water to come halfway up sides of ovenproof dish. Bake about 1 hour or until pudding sets. Remove pudding from baking dish; stand 5 minutes before serving.
Combine cream, milk, sugar and extract in medium saucepan; bring to the boil. Whisk eggs in large bowl; whisking constantly, gradually add hot milk to egg mixture.
Notes on this recipe:
- So tasty, so bad for you, so absolutely awesome.
- I used white chocolate chips because I had some around and couldn’t be arsed buying more chocolate.
- This was actually really easy, and I will certainly make this again when I next think I want a bread (ish) pudding.