Salted Macadamia Buttercrunch

Ingredients

  • 250g raw unsalted Macadamia nuts
  • 200g granulated sugar
  • 45g light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 114g salted butter cut into pieces
  • A big pinch of good salt, such as Maldon
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 150g Dark or milk chocolate, chopped
  • Additional flaky sea salt (optional)

Method

  • Toast the macadamia nuts in a large frying pan over a medium heat for a few minutes taking care not to burn them.
  • Remove from pan, allow to cool and chop somewhere between finely and coarsely
  • Form half the nuts into a rectangle about 20 x 25 cm on an ungreased baking sheet or a Silpat mat.
  • In a medium, heavy-duty saucepan, heat the water, butter, salt, and white and brown sugars.
  • Cook, stirring gently if necessary, until a sugar thermometer reads 150ºC degrees.
  • Remove from heat and immediately stir in the baking soda and vanilla.
  • Quickly pour the mixture over the nuts on the baking sheet. Using a small offset spatula, or similar utensil, spread the warm mixture over the nuts. (If you want to sprinkle additional sea salt over the buttercrunch mixture, do it at this point.)
  • Let set for about a minute or two
  • Sprinkle the chocolate pieces over the top and let stand 2 minutes. The residual heat in the caramel will melt the chocolate.
  • Spread the chocolate in an even layer.
  • Sprinkle the remaining nuts over the chocolate and gently press them in with your hands, or a spatula.
  • Cool completely and break into pieces to serve.
  • Store in an airtight container.

Nice! and Tasty – Chris

Gluten Free Almond Cake/Tart

This cake is absolutely delicious and extremely simple to make. It is really moist and has a great almond flavour.

Cake

Ingredients

  • 100g ground almonds
  • Pinch salt
  • 50g icing sugar
  • 50g regular sugar
  • 1 large egg – beaten
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter (55g), melted and cooled, plus more for the pan
  • ½ teaspoon almond extract or 1 teaspoon almond essence
  • 1 1/2 tsp Vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt

Glaze (optional) – Mix the ingredients below adding more or less sugar depending on the consistency you want

  • Icing sugar
  • Water
  • Almond extract
  • Squeeze fresh lemon juice

Method

  • Preheat the oven to 160°C. Line the base of a 6-inch (15cm) cake pan with parchment paper cut to fit and generously butter the bottom and sides of the pan.
  • In a large bowl, combine the ground almonds, salt and all sugars.
  • Add the beaten egg, melted butter, and almond extract to the dry ingredients. Mix until smooth. The batter should be quite thick.
  • Scrape the batter into the prepared cake pan and smooth the top.
  • Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until the cake is golden brown and a cake tester inserted into the centre comes out clean. Carefully turn the cake out of the pan onto a wire rack and let it cool completely.
  • Pour the glaze (if using) over the cooled cake and allow to set (approx. 20min).

The almond cake will keep in an airtight container, or well wrapped in plastic wrap, for several days.

Nice! and Tasty – Chris

Tuscan Chicken

This is a really tasty way to serve chicken breasts which can often be quite dry, if not cooked correctly. It is great served with steamed rice and serves 4

Ingredients

  • 4 Chicken breasts, halved and slightly flattened
  • 1 large onion finely chopped
  • Olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 5 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 250ml white wine
  • 300ml cream
  • 250ml chicken stock
  • 1 handful of grated parmesan
  • 2 handfuls chopped baby spinach
  • ½ cup sundried tomatoes, sliced
  • 1 Tablespoon mixed dried herbs
  • Salt and pepper

Method

  • Season the chicken with salt and pepper and then gently fry the chicken breast in a little olive oil until nicely browned and nearly cooked through. Remove from pan.
  • Gently fry the onion in the butter and 1 tablespoon of olive oil. When soft, add the crushed garlic and fry for about 1 minute taking care not to burn the garlic
  • Add the wine, and reduce to about half then add the mixed herbs
  • Add the chicken stock and reduce a bit
  • Add the cream and simmer for a few minutes until the cream has reduced slightly
  • Add spinach and sundried tomatoes and gently cook until the spinach has wilted
  • Add parmesan and stir through.
  • Taste and season as required
  • Add chicken breasts back to the pan and cook gently until they are cooked through

Nice! and Tasty – Chris

Gooey Chocolate Brownies

These are great on their own either served at room temp. or straight from the refrigerator. Or you can add a scoop of vanilla ice-cream for a slightly more decadent dessert.

Ingredients

  • 115g unsalted butter
  • 250g good-quality dark chocolate, chopped
  • 90g good-quality milk chocolate (I use Lindt),
  • 100g castor sugar
  • 100g soft brown sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tbs Dutch or other good quality cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp Vanilla extract
  • 80g plain flour
  • Pinch of salt

Method

  • Preheat the oven to 170°C
  • Grease a 18cm x 27cm brownie pan with oil spray before lining the base and sides with baking paper.
  • Melt butter and 160g dark chocolate in a double boiler or in a heatproof plastic bowl in the microwave. Cool slightly.
  • In a separate bowl, combine the two sugars, the eggs and vanilla, and whisk by hand to combine. Add butter and chocolate mixture, then sift over dry ingredients and fold them through the mixture to gently combine.
  • Finely chop the milk chocolate and remaining 90g dark chocolate and add them to the brownie mixture.
  • Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and bake for approx. 25 minutes or until crusty on top and soft in the centre.
  • Leave to cool in the pan, then turn out onto a wire rack.
  • Once cool, cut into 4cm squares.
  • Store in an airtight container, such as Tupperware, in the fridge.

Nice! and Tasty – Chris

Portuguese Mussels

A great alternative to the classic French style mussels.

Ingredients

  • 2 – 3kg live mussels, (or frozen if you cannot get fresh) cleaned
  • 1 Chorizo, skin removed and finely diced
  • 1 red pepper
  • 1 yellow pepper
  • 1 tin chopped tomatoes
  • 3 cloves garlic finely chopped
  • 3 – 4 Tablespoons good olive oil (not extra virgin)
  • 2 challots finely diced
  • 1 glass white wine (sauvignon blanc is best)
  • 1 bunch fresh coriander
  • Salt/pepper if needed

*Fish Stock if needed (see bottom)

Method

  •   Remove the skin from the peppers

      How to peel peppers
1) Cut the peppers in half and remove the stalk, seeds and white membrane.

2) Place the peppers under a hot grill, skin side up, turning as the skin blackens.
3) Seal in a plastic bag and leave to cool.

4) Remove the peppers from the bag. The skin should now peel away easily

  • Chop the peppers into small cubes
  • Heat the oil in a large heavy based pot and gently fry the onion until soft
  • Add the Chorizo and gently fry until golden and slightly crispy
  • Add the garlic and fry for a minute or so taking care not to burn
  • Add the white wine and boil for a few seconds
  • add the tomatoes and peppers and bring up to the boil
  • Toss in the mussels, cover with a tight fitting lid and steam until they shells open (approx 4-5-minutes)
  • As soon as the shells have opened, remove from the heat and add a large handful of freshly chopped coriander
  • discard any mussels that have not opened.
  • Serve in bowls with crispy bread to soak up the juices

*Live mussels contain their own seawater which becomes its own stock when cooking. If you are using frozen mussels you can add some fish stock to increase the sauce volume in need.

Nice! and Tasty – Chris

Food, Recipes, Restaurants

 

My first contributor is Nice! and Tasty – Chris”. 

I have had the privilege of sampling Chris’s food in the past  and it has always been exceptionally tasty and imaginative. Nice! and Tasty – Chris will be the main contributor in this section.

In his own words:

Originally from South Africa and now residing in Auckland, New Zealand, I have been cooking and experimenting with food for around 20 years. Being self-taught, I’m not constrained by any one style or cuisine, however over the years I’ve developed a real passion for creating desserts as well as slow cooking. My philosophy is straight forward really – look for and purchase the highest quality ingredients your wallet will allow. Don’t over-complicate food, and exercise discipline in cooking, realising that more often than not, fewer ingredients are better. Be mindful when cooking. I put as much concentration and feeling into frying an egg as I do when creating a complex dessert. Whilst presentation is important, ultimately it’s the depth of flavour and texture of food which determines a great dish.