Baked Chicken with Spinach and Artichokes

November 4th, 2014

I’m moving in a few weeks so I’m trying to use up stuff in my kitchen. I came across some artichokes and had some chicken thighs in the freezer so off to Pinterest I go. I came across this recipe for Baked Chicken with Spinach and Artichokes, tweaked it little depending on what was in the cabinet and not packed away. And damn am I glad I did. This will definitely be a dish I’ll be making again very soon. It was easy, tasty and went right along with the  Alt-J that I’ve had on repeat. I’m going to Fun Fun Fun Fest on Friday to see them and can’t freakin wait.  I’m even more excited cause my festie bestie Jill is taking a night off from being the baddest mama jammer in Austin to go with me.  A festival just aint a festival without her.

Baked Chicken with Spinach and Artichoke
Ingredients

1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
4 to 6 chicken pieces (thighs, chicken breast, legs, etc…) I used boneless thighs
salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
1 can (14-ounces) quartered artichokes, rinsed and drained
1 yellow onion, thinly sliced
1 large carrot, sliced into thin rounds (I used 2 carrots and would add more next time)
1 tbsp garlic
1 bag (6 to 8 ounces) baby spinach
1/2 cup chicken broth

Baked Chicken with Spinach and Artichoke

Baked Chicken with Spinach and Artichoke
Instructions

Preheat oven to 425.
The original recipe used a skillet that can go in the oven, which I didn’t have, so I used a skillet and transferred to a casserole dish for the oven.
Heat butter and olive oil in a large nonstick skillet.
Season chicken with salt and pepper.
Add to skillet and brown on both sides; about 5 minutes on each side.
Remove from skillet and set it on the side, leaving oil in skillet.
Add artichokes, onions, carrots and garlic to the skillet.
Cook for 5 minutes, or until vegetables are slightly tender, stirring occasionally,.
Add chopped garlic and spinach; continue to cook for 1 minute, stirring occasionally.
Remove from heat and add broth and chicken.
Place in the casserole dish then oven and bake for 18 minutes, or until chicken is thoroughly cooked.
Plate and ladle liquid and veggies over chicken pieces.
Serve.

 

Baked Chicken with Spinach and Artichoke

Baked Chicken with Spinach and Artichoke

Purple Potato Salad

October 14th, 2014

A few weeks ago when I was visiting Birmingham my dad and I went to Pepper Place Market and picked up some goodies for our Sunday night dinner.  One of the things we grabbed was a mixed bag of potatoes including fingerling and purple potatoes.  I found this recipe.  I edited it a little due to what was on hand.  I think this is my new go to summer potato salad.  Pretty damn good if I do say so myself.    My dad made a bad ass pork brisket in the crock pot to go with it.  Served with our Strawberry Fields Forever cocktail just to get your mind right.  I always listen to music while I cook (and for pretty much everything else I do in life) and today was Broken Bells.  I saw them at Iron City the week after and the show was beyond amazing.   What’s your go to cooking music?

Purple Potato Salad

Serves 4
baby potatoes (mix of purple and white)
1 tablespoon of white wine vinegar
3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
1 garlic clove, finely minced
1 teaspoon of Dijon mustard
A generous pinch of sea salt and ground black pepper

Place the potatoes in a pot of cold water, cover, place over a high heat and bring to the boil. Simmer until the potatoes are tender when pierced with a fork. Drain the potatoes and slice in half lengthways.  For the dressing whisk together the vinegar, oil, lemon juice, garlic, mustard.  Pour the dressing over the cooked potatoes and gently toss, until everything is combined.  Make another drink and enjoy!

 

Purple Potato Salad

Purple Potato Salad From Pepper Place Market

Strawberry Fields Forever Cocktail Recipe

October 2nd, 2014

Last Sunday my dad and I took all the great stuff we got at Pepper Place Market the day before and made dinner. And of course cocktails were involved. We had some strawberries and I’ve been on a major Beatles playlist since getting back from England…so Strawberry Fields Forever was my inspiration …..and they were damn good.

Strawberry Whip Cream Vodka Cocktail

Muddled strawberries

Whip cream vodka

Club soda

Ice

I muddled about 8 strawberries.  As far as the vodka and club soda…I tend to have a heavy pour when I’m making drinks but they had about 2 shots each and then topped with club soda.  They were a little sweet for me so I added more of the club soda to balance that.    After two or three I definitely felt like I was floating along with the fab four.

Strawberry Whip Cream Vodka Cocktail

A music junkies tour of England

October 1st, 2014

So a few weeks ago I went to England for the first time. I went to be a part of my friend Amy’s wedding in Newcastle. Amy and I met a few years ago at a Kings of Leon concert at the Gorge when we were both living in Seattle. We ran into each other a few weeks after that at another show and decided that we should be friends. You know how you meet people and you feel as if you’ve known them forever? It was like that. But blond, loud and British. I fucking love her.

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So off I go as the professional bridesmaid to show these Geordie’s how this bitch does a wedding. Meaning drunk and ridiculous, but always entertaining. It was an amazing day and I loved meeting all of Amy’s family and friends and so lucky to be a part of it.  And I got to wear a fancy hat (that I stole off Amy’s fabulous mum Jackie).England Fancy HatNewcastle England Wedding

Newcastle England Wedding

Amy and Steesh decided to postpone their honeymoon till next year, so lucky them…they got to spend some time with me after the wedding.

We hit up the markets in Tynemouth where I got my happy little hands on some vintage vinyl.

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Next it was off to London. Now when I travel I do it a little differently than some. Yeah..the London Eye that’s cool and all, and it was nice to walk by it.  Oh hey Buckingham Palace!  I see ya down there, tell the Queen and Kate I’ll be by later to sip some tea….but my must see list consisted of drinking and eating my way through London while checking out some iconic music spots. So I’m a HUGE Beatles fan, so obviously first on the list….Abbey Rd. It was pretty surreal to be in that space where the Beatles created so much amazing music.  Also, trying to take a pic on the crossing without getting hit by a car is a bitch.

Abbey Rd Studios London England

Abbey Rd Studios

Abbey Rd Studios London England

.Liverpool England

 

Outside Abbey Rd Studios they have a wall where people write notes and their names etc.  I’m glad I got to leave my mark in such a special place.

Abbey Rd Studios London England

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We also were able to check out The 100 Club. They weren’t open, but the doors were unlocked so I just went on in and took a pic in the same space you entered to watch The Clash and the Sex Pistols play in the 70’s.  Goosebumps. (Sorry about the trespassing)

The 100 Club London England

The 100 Club London England

As I walked down Denmark St I kept thinking about how back in the day Davie Bowie and the Stones hung out and recorded there.  Now this is the history class I would have liked in college.

Denmark St London England

London England

Carnaby St.  I was disappointed not to see Austin Powers walking around.

 

London England

 

 Camden was next on the list.  Vintage shopping and drinking….it was as if Amy Winehouse’s spirit was right there with me.

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I loved the bad ass buildings.
Camden Town London England street art Camden Town London England Amy Winehouse

Next on to Liverpool. The highlight of my time in Liverpool was knocking back a few drinks in the Cavern Club and hitting up 69A, a vintage and antique store. I was able to pick up some cool shirts for my bro, dad and one of my fav cousins, Cannoli.

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Liverpool England

Liverpool England The Beatles Museum

It was a whirlwind of two weeks and flew by…as things tend to do when you’re having fun.  I hope if you’re going to England, you can use some of my spots as travel recommendations. What would you add to the list?

Strawberry Cupcakes with Vanilla Buttercream Icing

August 27th, 2014

So this weekend was my bestie’s little girl, Stella Rae’s second birthday. Jill has a vintage clothing and decor business, and we blog together at www.stellaraevintage.com, so birthday’s around here are no simple affair. I made her some pretty cute circus themed cupcakes last year, so I was excited to try something new this year. The theme was Tea for Two, so I decided to try out decorating with piping bags. I ordered some Wilton tips, and figured what the hell….they’ll either turn out great OR I can sneak around to Hey Cupcake if catastrophe strikes. And I gotta say….fucking nailed it! I had found an inspiration pic on pinterest but I ended up totally free styling them. They tasted great and I had the best time doing them. Below are the recipe’s I used for the Strawberry cake and Vanilla Buttercream frosting. I used Wilton Gel primary colors to color the icing. Unfortunately I can’t tell ya exactly how I did the decorating, basically just played with the different tips (insert inappropriate joke) and had fun with it. So put on some good tunes and let your imagination go and have fun! I listened to the new Jack White album. “My veins are blue and connected, and every single bone in my brain is electric”….

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• For the cake
• 4 1/2 cups cake flour
• 3 cups sugar
• 5 1/4 tsp baking powder
• 3/4 tsp salt
• 3 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
• 1 1/2 cups pureed frozen strawberries
• 8 egg whites
• 2/3 cup almond milk or lowfat milk

Instructions
1. Preheat the oven to 350.  Line cupcake tins with liners.
2. Put the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large mixer bowl. With the mixer on low speed, blend for 30 seconds.  Add the butter and strawberry puree and mix to blend.  Raise the speed to medium and beat until light and fluffy, about 2 to 3 minutes.  The batter will resemble strawberry ice cream at this point.
3. In another large bowl, whisk together the egg whites, and milk.  Add the whites to the batter in two or three additions, scraping down the sides of the bowl and mixing only to incorporate after each addition.  Divide the batter among the cupcake liners, filling until 3/4 full.
4. Bake the cupcakes for 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.  Let sit in tin for five minutes, then move to wire rack to cool completely, about 1 hour. I didn’t have a wire rack, so I used a sushi matt and skillet with raised ridges-thanks internet for the suggestion!  Make sure that your cupcakes have cooled for awhile before decorating them.  You want them to set so you don’t get crumbs in the frosting and so the frosting doesn’t melt on them.

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For the frosting I did Vanilla Buttercream.  Buttercream is best for decorating using piping bags.- I made 2 batches of this and it was just the right amount for decorating about 30 cupcakes.  Make sure that the icing is stiff, add more sugar if it turns out a little too soft.

• 1 cup butter, softened
• 3 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
• 1 teaspoon milk
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 1/8 teaspoon salt
1. In a bowl combine butter, sugar and salt. Beat till blended.
2. Add the milk and vanilla and beat for an additional 3 to 5 minutes or until smooth and creamy.

I divided this into separate bowls and then added the gel color (you don’t need much of this) then just spoon it into your piping bags and let the fun begin!

IMG_0602Strawberry Cupcakes Strawberry Cupcakes1Strawberry Cupcakes IMG_4155IMG_0603

Paleo Twix Bars-Sticky Fingers Guaranteed

May 20th, 2014

A few weeks ago I was staying in Mobile with my best friend Smashley and she introduced me to these awesome bars. I’d seen them floating around on Pinterest but hadn’t made them yet. And I’m damn glad I did.

Paleo twix bars

Ingredients
For the crust:
2 cups almond flour-I made my own, way cheaper than buying it.
4 tablespoons coconut flour
1/2 teaspoon unflavored gelatin

1/4 teaspoon Celtic sea salt
2 tablespoons honey
8 tablespoons unsalted butter or 6 tablespoons ghee, cold, cut into tablespoons

For the Caramel:
8 tablespoons unsalted butter or 6 tablespoons ghee
1 cup pure maple syrup
1 1/2 cup heavy cream or full-fat, canned coconut milk -I used coconut milk

For the Chocolate:
6 ounces chocolate-I used dark chocolate
1 tablespoon coconut oil

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Instructions
Preheat the oven to 350ºF and adjust rack to middle position. Line a 8 x8 pan with parchment paper. I made my own almond flour, much cheaper than buying it.

Place almond flour, coconut flour, gelatin, and sea salt in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse 2-3 times to combine. Add honey and butter to the flour mixture and pulse for eight 1-second pulses and then leave the processor on until the dough forms into a ball. Press the dough onto the bottom of the lined baking pan. Bake for 15-18 minutes until golden brown on the edges. Cool completely.

Melt ½ cup butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in maple syrup and bring to a boil. Whisk constantly for about 2 minutes. Slowly pour in cream or coconut milk. Bring to a boil, whisking often.The original recipe said to boil until sauce reaches 220ºF, about 5 minutes. Now I don’t have a candy thermometer, so I boiled until it thickened. It took about 20-30 mins. Make sure to continue whisking so it doesn’t burn on the bottom. And BAM you have caramel! Pour the caramel over the cooled crust and place in the refrigerator. Chill for 30 minutes.

Pour chocolate in a double boiler (or as an alternative, place a heat-proof bowl over a pot of boiling water) and melt the chocolate. Stir in coconut oil and let it sit 10 minutes.

Check out my awesome sous chef Ringo, trying to pull some Jedi mind shit and make me drop something.  Nice try dude.

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Pour chocolate over the caramel layer then chill for 4 hours. This was the hardest part waiting for it to chill for 4 hours! I recommend several cocktails to make the time pass easier.

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I always listen to music while I cook and for this recipe I busted out the Rolling Stones Sticky Fingers on vinyl. So make sure to get your Jagger strut on.

.Rolling Stones Sticky Fingers Vinyl Record

My Mum

May 11th, 2014

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I’m sitting here in Austin while everyone is out celebrating Mother’s Day with their moms, and mine is half way across the world. I wish I was with her today, but I really don’t need a special day to let my mom know how much she means to me.  My mom’s family is headed by a strong woman, my Nana.  The women in my moms family are all strong, independent inspiring  women.  I’m lucky to have strong female role models in my life.  They are all amazing, and crazy and I love them to pieces.  No one has a mom, or aunties like mine, guaran-damn-teed.

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My mom is truly one of a kind.  I can be totally myself with her and I know she is there for me no matter what.  She supports me and all my crazy adventures, she encourages me to be a better person and to have compassion for others, she makes me laugh like no one else can.  Even though we only get to see each other maybe once a year since she lives in New Zealand, we talk all the time, and her friendship and guidance is with me every day.  I love you Mom!

Don’t think, just do it…

February 13th, 2014

Well I’ve been in New Zealand a week and about to head off to Oz to visit some fam and get some major beach time in.  A few days ago I went with my mom down to Waikanae to visit my great aunt Netta.  93 in a week and still a little spitfire.  Guess that’s where I get my feistiness.  I fat fingered something on my camera and erased the pics of our visit with her, motherfucker!

She’s led such a cool, fun, full life.  She was a fashion designer in New Zealand and won all sorts of awards, a well known artist and has traveled all over.  We were talking about places I want to travel to and she said “Don’t think about it, just do it….make it happen”.  I love that attitude.  I’ve always said that if I say it out loud, I’ve gotta do it.   Looks like more adventures will be coming soon!

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Me at Lake Taupo…about 2 mins before I took went swimming in my knickers.  You’re welcome tourists
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Spatchcocked Chicken

October 29th, 2013

Hey there!

So my first post is coming to you all the way from New Zealand.  I’m over here visiting my mom for six weeks.   The first weekend a high school friend of my mom’s came up and a few other people and we went to the Marchwood Blues Picnic in Omokoroa.  Don’t worry I didn’t know how to say it either.   We made this chicken that was just freakin amazing.  Here ya go.  And if you can say the name without a grin on your face then high five to you.

SpatchcockChicken2

SERVES: 4

So you might be asking yourself what the hell Spatchcocking is…..Spatchcocking a chicken means it cooks quickly, while stuffing the skin with butter which helps keep the meat moist.

1 whole chicken
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
50g softened butter
zest and juice of 1 lemon
2 teaspoons thyme leaves, chopped
1 red chilli, finely chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
5 tomatoes, cored, sliced
1⁄2 red onion, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon coarsely chopped flat-leafed parsley
1 tablespoon coarsely chopped mint
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

My mom’s got a pretty sweet little garden out back so all the herbs were fresh from there.
Herb pots

To spatchcock the chicken, use kitchen shears to cut down each side of the backbone and remove it (you can freeze it to make stock with later). Open out the chicken and push down on the wings firmly to break the breast bone and further flatten the chicken. Cut off the wing tips. You can remove the cartilage between the breasts, but I leave it as it helps prevent the meat from drying out.  I watched this video first to get a good idea of how to do this.

Put the garlic, butter and in a small food processor and process until smooth. Use your fingers to carefully separate the skin of the chicken from the flesh around the breasts and legs, and massage the butter on to the flesh, distributing it evenly and taking care not to break the skin.

Combine the lemon zest and juice, thyme, chilli and olive oil. Rub all over the chicken then marinate in the fridge for 1-2 hours.

Roast in the oven at 180°C or 350°F 40 minutes.

Meanwhile, toss together the tomato and onion. Just before serving, mix in the parsley and mint, whisk together the extra virgin olive oil and vinegar then season with salt and freshly ground black pepper and drizzle over the salad.   We served it with a kumara (sweet potato) salad and garlic bread.  And a hell of a lot of wine of course.

We actually doubled the recipe and took the the second chicken to the blues picnic and it was just as good cold.

SpatchcockChicken

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Here’s my lovely mum and her high school friend Winsome