Saturday, 9 June 2012

Lazy Chicken Cordon Bleu and Creamed Spinach

And so I make my return to lazy blogging with a Lazy Chicken Cordon Bleu (not Blew as the spell-checker tried to convince me! ) The past few(?!) months, as much as I like cooking and baking and eating and telling people about it, I just wasn't feeling the blogging. A good chunk of my time was devoted to preparing and baking a wedding cake for one of my close friends, but more about that in a future post... 

 Why Lazy Chicken Cordon Bleu you ask? The traditional way of preparing Chicken Cordon Bleu involves rolling the flattened chicken breast around a piece of pork meat (like ham or prosciutto) and a soft cheese, then crumbing the entire parcel and deep frying it (sjoe!). I decided to rather just fold the chicken over on the filling, and making a crust for the top.

 I recently bought a Bamix with a wonderful food processor attachment; its nut grinding abilities lead to this recipe one evening my boyfriend came over to make dinner. I assigned him the task of making the accompanying Creamed Spinach, along with the official title, 'Vice President of Spinach' :P 

 I used almonds and coconut for the crust which gave it a lovely subtle, exotic flavour, as well as robust Gouda which provided a good base flavour. 

 On the accompaniment side, the Vice President of Spinach did an excellent job by adding a bit of NoMU Black Pepper and Pistachio Dipper to the creamed spinach which really took the dish to the next level! I've made the Creamed Spinach a few times since, it will definitely become part of my regular cooking repertoire.

The best part of making this meal for two people, was that I had delicious leftovers to enjoy all over again the next day!


  Lazy Chicken Cordon Bleu Makes 4 portions
  • 4 Chicken Breasts
  • 1/2 cup Dessicated Coconut
  • 1/2 cup Blanched Almonds
  • 1/4 cup Strong Cheese, grated (I used matured Gouda)
  • 8 Bacon strips
  • Cream Cheese
  • a few sprigs of Thyme
  1. Preheat the oven to 180'C on bake.
  2. Place the coconut, almonds and cheese in a food processor, process until the mixture resembles fine crumbs. (The quantities indicated are just a rough guideline, don't worry too much about being accurate here)
  3. Place a chicken breast between 2 sheets of cling wrap. Use a heavy bottomed pan to flatten the meat until it is about half it's original thickness.(Whack the meat with the pan!) Do this with the rest of the breasts as well.
  4. To assemble: Take a chicken breast, place 2 strips of bacon on so that they cover the whole breast. Place a spoonful of cream cheese in the center of the breast, add a few sprigs of thyme, and fold the breast over. (The fold should be perpendicular to the long edge of the breast.)
  5. Put the chicken on a baking tray, bake until the bottom edge is just cooked through. Remove the tray and turn the chicken around(cooked side should be on top). Spoon the crumb mix evenly over all the pieces of chicken, use your fingers to pat it down a bit. Return the chicken to the oven and bake it until the bottom edge cooked. I turned on the grill for the last few minutes to get a nice brown crust.

Creamed Spinach
  • 300g Spinach (white stems removed)
  • 1 Onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves of Garlic, finely chopped
  • Half a pack of Bacon (I used the bacon left over from the chicken!)
  • 30g Cream Cheese (2 portions)
  • 1 heaped tsp of NoMU Black Pepper & Pistachio Dipper
  1. In a pan, fry the onions,garlic and bacon until the onions are soft.
  2. Add the spinach bit for bit until everything is in the pan. (The volume of the spinach decreases a lot when it is cooked, thus the volume of fresh spinach is too much to add to the pan in one batch)
  3. After all the spinach has been added, add the cream cheese and dukkah, and cook until the spinach is done to your liking.

Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Ready Steady Cook!


7 Mystery ingredients, 3 courses, 3 weeks to prepare. The Ready Steady Cook! challenge is based on the popular television show by the same name. The challenge is to create a 3 course meal, using 7 mystery ingredients (supplied by another blogger) as well as any of the pantry ingredients specified. My mystery ingredients were supplied by Hila from Add to Taste and are as follows:

  • Black Grapes

  • Boerewors

  • Palm Hearts

  • Red Wine

  • Haloumi

  • Watermelon

  • Fennel Root

The pantry ingredients supplied were the following:

  • Stock

  • Milk/Cream

  • Eggs

  • Flour (or a flour substitute)

  • Lemons

  • Garlic

  • Ginger

  • Chillies

  • Fresh Herbs

  • Dried Herbs

  • Dried Spices

  • Sugar (or a sugar substitute)

  • Butter/margarine

  • Salt

  • Pepper

  • Oil – any of your choice

  • Vinegar

  • Pasta / Noodles / Rice

  • Tinned Tomatoes

  • Tinned Chickpeas

  • Chocolate / Cacao

This round of Ready Steady Cook! was kindly hosted by Tandy from Lavender & Lime, thanks Tandy!

Starter: Fried Haloumi Finger Food

  • Haloumi (a few slices about 5mm thick)

  • Butter

  • Boerewors

  • 1 Sage Leaf

  • 250ml Red Wine

  • 30ml Sugar

  • 1 Star Aniseed

  • Black Grapes, halved

  1. Start with the Red Wine Reduction, put the red wine, sugar and star aniseed in a pot and boil until reduced to a syrup. Leave to cool.

  2. Pan fry the boerewors with a few sage leaves in a pan until done.

  3. For the haloumi, heat a pan to medium heat and add a generous amount of butter to a pan (the more butter the better in this case). Add the haloumi and fry on each side until the outside is just crispy (you don't want to the cheese to get too soft, otherwise you'll have trouble turning it over!).

  4. Arrange all the items on a plate and drizzle with the red wine reduction.

Main: Fennel Root Risotto with Gingered Palm Hearts

  • 1 Fennel Root bulb, sliced finely

  • 2 Tbsp Butter

  • 1 cup Arborio Rice

  • 6 cups Chicken Stock, hot

  • 1 tin of Palm Hearts

  • 2 cm piece of Ginger, grated

  • Some more butter for frying

  1. Start with the Gingered Palm Hearts. Heat a generous amount of butter in a frying pan.

  2. Add the ginger and palm hearts and fry on a medium to low heat until the palm hearts are soft inside.

  3. For the risotto I used the fennel instead of onions in the traditional recipe and omitted the usual cheese. There are as many ways to make risotto as there are people making risotto, so feel free to use the method you find works best. I will describe the method I used.

  4. In a pot, fry the fennel with the butter until the fennel is soft.

  5. Add the arborio rice and stir until it is coated with the butter and heated through (about 1 minute).

  6. Add 1 cup of the chicken stock and stir until it is completely absorbed. Add another cup and continue in the same way until the rice is soft and creamy.

  7. Serve immediately with the palm hearts.

Dessert: Watermelon and Cardamom Chocolate Mousse

  • 80g Chocolate (use good quality chocolate, it is the main ingredient!)

  • 70ml Watermelon Juice

  • 5ml Cardamom Powder

  1. This recipe requires everything to happen at the right time, so a few things need to be prepared before starting. Get two bowls, one larger than the other. The smaller bowl should be large enough for you to whisk in. Fill the larger bowl with ice and water, this will be used as an ice bath for the smaller bowl. Get a whisk ready.

  2. To start, break the chocolate into small pieces (you want it to be able to melt quickly). Put the chocolate into the smaller bowl.

  3. For the watermelon juice, press pieces of watermelon through a sieve (throw away the pulp). Measure out the right amount of juice, mix with the cardamom and heat it until almost boiling. Add it to the chocolate and stir the mixture until all the chocolate is melted.

  4. Put the bowl into the ice bath and start whisking. The idea is for the mixture to be agitated continuously while cooling down. As it cools it will start to thicken. When it just reached mousse consistency, stop immediately and remove it from the ice bath. If you over beat it, it will become too stiff and grainy, but don't worry! You can just heat the mixture again and restart the process.

  5. Serve immediately with a few slices of watermelon.

  6. Note: Check out this video for a more detailed explanation of this method, as well as showing how it is done.


Click on the image below to see what the other bloggers did! Best of luck everyone!