I’ll Share The Chicken

Making chicken fajitas

If I had to choose one meat to eat for the rest of my life, it would be chicken. Aside from being versatile (as I’m able to use it in so many ways), when cooked properly it is the ultimate tender, succulent food of love; among those I care about, for me to share a chicken is to share my love. An example of such a sharing recipe is chicken fajitas.

DIY feast
Filling up a wrap

I came by my most-loved recipe for chicken fajitas through Nigella Lawson’s cookbook, Kitchen. As documented throughout this blog, this was my first real cookbook to own and it’s well-worn and highly appreciated pages have continued to give me inspiration and justify my love of cooking (not to mention my admiration of Nigella!). Nigella’s chicken fajitas are made to be shared and indeed, one of the many times I have made them in the past was a time when a collection of people I love came to dinner.

Recently I made them again with the intention of sharing my chicken love with my guy. When I first asked him if he’d like to have them of a Friday night, his reply was, “What are chicken fajitas?” I explained to him that they were basically like soft tacos. Delicious ones.

Of course, the mark of someone’s seal of approval when eating is requesting second helpings – my guest was not shy about asking for more!

Chicken, capsicum, onion, lettuce, sour cream, cheese, tabasco, lime juice…
… And that’s a wrap!

As you will find from the recipe, the chicken is marinated briefly in lime juice, garlic oil, dried oregano and cumin (along with a bit of sugar and salt), before being fried until cooked on the inside alongside the juicy and soft onion and capsicum.

As for what you can have with it, it is entirely the assemblers choice: grated cheddar, coriander, lettuce, sour cream, spicy tabasco sauce, corn, avocado… or anything else you deem Mexican enough for your own fajitas. For me, I am happy to dispense with the corn and avocado but it is totally up to you.

The rest is chicken history. Good for feeding a family, not bad for leftovers, great for soaking up excess alcohol, art for the true foodie – that is, an appreciative and easily pleased one – what’s not to love?

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My Dalliance With Bananas

Banana Choctella Muffins

Once upon a time, in a time where the rules “No hat, no play” and “Eat your fruit and vegetables” gleaned importance, a small child sat on the silver seats at school day after day with a banana as her snack from home. While this was undoubtedly a healthy item to give a child, this child soon grew sick of bananas and began swapping it for something less healthy come recess…

Of course once my well-meaning mother found out I wasn’t eating my lovely bananas, she ceased giving them to me. So my affair with bananas seemed a short-lived experience. However, I was yet to discover the delicious moistness which bananas could potentially provide in other culinary pursuits.

Adding eggs to butter and honey

Whisked together!
This is evidenced by the creation of these banana choctella muffins. I could immediately see (or in this case, taste) that the addition of mashed bananas to muffins and cakes – not to mention the scrumptious nature of fresh banana bread – was something to be celebrated and adored.

Indeed, the smell of these muffins baking in the oven didn’t repulse me. Far from it. I was salivating. The whole place smelt of fresh baking.

Three ripe bananas

Adding mashed bananas to batter
I need hardly say that the bananas were the perfect interior to the muffins, as it created a bouncy and light texture which is what muffins are all about. It also didn’t taste overwhelmingly of bananas; it was a more subtle introduction into my once loathed fruit.

However, I do admit that while mashing the banana itself I felt a little like gagging. Ah, childhood memories!

Sifting flour into batter

Swirling Nutella into muffin batter!
Of course, the best part was yet to come as I dolloped Nutella onto each muffin in its pink casing. Feeling totally competent, I swirled the Nutella slightly into the batter so as to spread the chocolate hazelnut into the interior of the muffins. Coming out of the oven, I couldn’t resist splodging an extra spoonful of Nutella onto my warm muffin.

The simple charm of the banana choctella muffins belies its true beauty… part of which is that they’re compact enough to bring to school. But since my school days have been made redundant, taking one to work should suffice.

Who says I don’t eat bananas?

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Chicken to Sooth the Soul

During winter, it’s desirable to stay warm and cosy. The same goes for the food we choose to eat when it’s cold – something to sooth and warm us from the inside out. Chicken is the kind of healthy, restorative food that gives me succour in winter and reassures me when life gets a little hectic…

Poached chicken with pancetta and lentils

One of my favourite meals to warm me from the inside on a cold winter’s night is Nigella Lawson’s “Poached chicken with lardons and lentils” (from her cookbook, Kitchen). The recipe involves tender chicken, vibrant vegetables, lentils and pancetta or bacon. Once the vegetables, lentils and bacon is cooked, the chicken is placed on top and water is poured in to poach the chicken. By the time the chicken is cooked through, the water has become a stock and has partially absorbed into the vegetables and lentils.

While the original recipe specifies using chicken marylands, I happily use a couple of chicken thighs with the skin on and bone in. Nigella also stipulates that you may use smoked lardons, pancetta or bacon – here, I have chosen to use pancetta.

While I’ll admit, the first time I made this I was experiencing hot rather than cold weather (living in the Top End of Australia at the time), I was in dire need of something to take the hell out of my day. Absorbing myself in my tiny kitchen, chopping away at the vegetables and serenely stirring them together with the bacon in my pan sent me on the path to self-possession.

“You cannot truly say you live well unless you eat well.” – Nigella Lawson

By the time the English mustard and water were added and all was bubbling away with the chicken placed on top, lid clamped on, the smell of my soon-to-be meal alone had restored me to my happy self. Sitting down to eat it was bliss!

This time around – having long returned to a cooler part of the country – this poached chicken has been perfect food to wind down with, wrapped up in a blanket while watching “MasterChef”.
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Easter Indulgence

One a penny, two a penny…

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Hot cross buns

Adulthood has brought with it new challenges and twists on tradition that I, as a child, never thought of. From rising early with anticipation on the Easter break to discover the Easter bunny’s wondrous gifts of chocolate rabbits and eggs, to waking late on the Easter weekend to toast hot cross buns and make coffee.

I do not claim to have made these delightful buns myself – thank you, ‘Baker’s Delight’ – however I am reminded only too strongly of the family holiday breakfasts of my childhood. These required hot cross buns, or cereal with a side of sneaky chocolate eggs.

Chocolate fix

While I may have abandoned eating chocolate at breakfast in my sensibility, I have no qualms about chocolate at any other time of day. So this weekend to carry on chocolate tradition I made a semifreddo, courtesy of this month’s Australian Gourmet Traveller.*

Chocolate and roasted almond semifreddo

Gloriously rich and chocolatey, the beauty of the almond-studded chocolate cream I poured into my loaf tin seduced me almost as much as the heady smell and taste of the vanilla bean (pulled out of the mixture after it had cooled and licked clean…).

If you are attempting this recipe, please note that you must keep an eye on the milk at all times and make sure to stir continuously once the egg mixture is added to the pan, to avoid some not-so-lovely lumps.

Currently I am hoarding my semifreddo in the freezer, however it is also a cool treat for entertaining – pull it out, slice it up and serve!

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Eating My Words

Learning to love cooking


There was a time when I said with undoubted misery, “I can’t cook.” Little did I know how I would grow to love cooking and anticipate coming home after work to wind down by stirring a risotto, or release tension by bashing the hell out of a chicken fillet.

I believe that food has an impact on people’s lives whether it be for health or for indulgence, for necessity or for enjoyment. Food can be memories or comfort, fuel or art. Eating food can provide succour, while cooking food can be a way of showing our love for another person.

Not too long ago, I finally embraced my desire to write for a living and am now studying Professional Writing and Editing. While I have loved writing and creating stories since I was a small child, my love of food has been a gradual, steady affair which began slowly through my grandma’s cooking and grew into my moving out of home and beginning to cook for myself for the first time.

I started this blog with the intention of showcasing my writing skills while writing about something I love, which eventuated as being a way of sharing food experiences that are memorable to me. Taking pleasure in the food we eat adds meaning to our lives in a sensory way – my earliest memories of cooking are baking with my grandma when I was little. Helping to measure out flour and combine the ingredients with grandma’s trusty wooden spoon. The smell of baking resonating through the house, licking the remainder of the batter from the spoon while sitting in front of the oven watching the cake slowly rise before my inquisitive eyes.

As I reached adulthood and moved away from home for the first time, I remember relentlessly eating my roommate’s tacos for several weeks before I’d had enough and began my pursuit of some different meals. Fishing for recipes on the internet and thumbing through my faithful Nigella Lawson cookbook (Kitchen was the first real cookbook I ever owned), I began planning weekly dinners with more relish than I ever thought possible. Soon the general consensus was that I should be the in-house cook from then on.

With a newfound happiness for cooking and seeing that it brought others happiness too, I admit now I was wrong when I once ventured to say “I can’t cook.”