Peanut chicken

peanut chicken Peanut chicken

I am off on my first holiday in quite a while. I am going to the Great Ocean Walk in Victoria for a week’s walking. The Great Ocean Road is a well-known drive along the beautiful Victorian coast line. A walk has now been developed and I am looking forward to getting away from the desk and enjoying the beautiful coastline on foot.

I am a little bit anxious about my level of fitness – I haven’t really done enough preparation but my friend and I are going with a reputable walking company so it should all be ok. There are campsites along the route but we are going to stay in an eco lodge and bed and breakfasts and most of our meals are fully catered, which suits me just fine. They are also transporting our bags along the way so we aren’t weighed down as we walk. I am looking forward to a week where the only thing I need to worry about it putting one foot after the other and enjoying the view. Oh and maybe taking a few photos.

peanut chicken 2 Peanut chicken

I’ll share photos of this beautiful part of the world when I get back but in the meantime, sit back, relax and make this super easy and super fabulous peanut chicken in under 20 minutes. What I think makes this recipe is the lime juice. I love peanut butter but if you aren’t careful it can overwhelm a dish. The lime juice lightens and sweetens everything up. Then the curry powder and cayenne pepper add a hint of spice. And the soy sauce adds the whole umami thing.

To make this for one I used the following ingredients:

The sauce:

  • ½ tbs of peanut butter (no reduced fat for me)
  • 1 tsp of fresh lime juice
  • ½ tsp of soy sauce
  • ¼ tsp of minced garlic
  • 1/8th tsp of curry powder
  • A dash of cayenne pepper

The chicken:

  • 125g of chicken breast cut in to bite sized pieces
  • 1 tsp of peanut oil

The original recipe is for barbequed (grilled if you are in the US) chicken where the sauce is brushed over the chicken as it cooks. But I find that when cooking for one, the idea of firing up the barbeque feels over the top. My barbeque is a lot more effort to use than a frypan.

The sauce is not very saucy – it is more of a marinade by the time it has cooked down. The sauce is made by mixing everything in a bowl. I did find the sauce a bit difficult to mix – my peanut butter was not keen on being incorporated with the other ingredients in the bowl. But once it hit the fry pan, it was all good.

peanut chicken 3 Peanut chicken

To make this in a fry pan, I heated the peanut oil on a medium heat and then threw in the chicken. I sealed the chicken which took about 4 minutes and then added the sauce. Keep cooking the chicken until is cooked through – about 5 minutes. I ate the chicken with steamed rice.

It is a very quick dish to make. 5-10 minutes to prepare and then 10 minutes to cook. All done in under 20 minutes. And only about 290 calories per serve – without the rice.

Baked Orange Roughy

baked orange roughy 3 Baked Orange Roughy

One of the things I find most problematic about cooking for one is fresh ingredients and especially herbs wilting before I can use them. I sometimes buy the small packets of fresh herbs at the supermarket instead of the bunches but find they often don’t last very long – particularly basil. I have tried just about every tip I can find to keep basil fresh but they don’t seem to work in my kitchen. My Mum does really well keep the basil you can buy in small seedling type pots alive on her kitchen window. But I don’t seem to be able to. I think there isn’t enough sun in my kitchen. I am going to try planting it in the garden again when the weather warms up but I love basil and eat it year round.

I have found the best way around this conundrum is to plan my meals so that I eat meals from a certain part of the world for a week. For example, one week might be Thai week. There tends to be overlap in the herbs and other ingredients in each dish, two recipes might call for Thai basil. I have certainly found it cuts down on wastage.

This recipe for baked flounder has great Italian flavours with basil and tomato. So for my meals for this week, I also made this recipe for sun-dried tomato, mushroom and basil pasta. It takes a bit of thought when planning your meals, but if you are trying not to waste food, it can make a real difference to your weekly food budget.

I worry about overcooking fish and I blame Masterchef for upping my anxiety levels with this. But I had no issues with this recipe. The fish was cooked just right and the sauce was just fabulous. It has so few ingredients but has so much flavour. That to me is one of the great joys of Italian cooking. Sure they have complicated dishes but I think overall as a cuisine the Italians have simple rustic food nailed.

This is the perfect work night spring dinner. It is so tasty but so quick to make.

I couldn’t find flounder at my local fish shop so bought some orange roughy instead which is a very similar firm white fleshed fish. But I bought too much so I made enough for almost two people and ate it all. Oops. But I did skip a side dish to compensate. And I hate wasting food.

I made this dish with:

  • A few squirts of olive oil cooking spray
  • 250g of orange roughy
  • ½ tbs of extra virgin olive oil
  • 8 cherry tomatoes
  • 1 tsp of capers
  • 1 tbsp of black olives
  • ½ a lemon, sliced as garnish
  • 4 basil leaves as garnish
  • Salt and pepper to taste

I followed the instructions as given in the original recipe. I used my olive oil cooking spray to grease the baking tray – actually a square cake tin to be precise. I liked the trick given to dry the fish fillets to they don’t cook in their own juice.

baked orange roughy 2 Baked Orange Roughy

The preparation time for this recipe is only about 5 minutes and cook time is 17 minutes once your oven is heated. With all this fish the dish comes in at only 364 calories. It is quite filling and with such low calories, you could easily still have a side.

Thai chicken stir-fry with basil and chilli plus a new logo

chicken with basil and chilli long 1024x768 Thai chicken stir fry with basil and chilli plus a new logo

I am so excited to share my new logo with you.  Up until now I have just used the standard font that came with my theme.  It didn’t look bad, but I didn’t love it.  I was lucky to be put in contact with the fabulous Ashleigh King.  Ashleigh was just so wonderful to work with. Not only did she come up with three unique designs but she also gave an explanation of the designs – great for a non-design person like me.  Ashleigh based the designs on a detailed questionnaire she got me to complete.  I loved this particular design from the get-go but Ashleigh does make adjustments to your preferred design if need be.

Ashleigh is just getting her own graphic design business of the ground after working for others.  I’ll let you know when her new website is launched.

The logo feels like a new boost for the blog and of course all around me there are lots of lovely plants coming to life as it is spring here in Australia. So it feels serendipitous that I am sharing my new logo now.

I am also starting to revive my spring and summer eating habits. Over winter, I haven’t had many stir-fries.  But now that spring is here (and boy has it arrived with a bang with summer like weekends) , I am feeling the love for stir-fries again. And this Thai chicken stir-fry with basil and chilli is a perfect stir-fry to quick off my spring eating.

I love basil – it has such a lovely fresh taste and perfectly offsets the sweetness and heat of chilli. Then the soy and fish sauces add that lovely smoky, salty undertone you get with Asian food.  The recipe calls for lemon basil which I couldn’t find so I used Thai basil which may be the same thing – the internet was very confusing when I tried to work this out.

To make this for one I used the following ingredients;

  • ½ tbs of peanut oil
  • 1 tsp of minced garlic (equivalent to one clove)
  • Just under 1 red chilli, thinly sliced (the original recipe has anaheim chillis)
  • 130g of skinless, boneless chicken breast, sliced in to thin strips. The original recipe has bite sized pieces but I like strips in my stir-fries.
  • 2 tsp of fish sauce
  • ½ tsp of soy sauce
  • ¼ tsp of sugar
  • 1 tbs of thai basil

The preparation time for this recipe is almost as long as the cook time.  It took me about 10 minutes to get everything prepared and about the same to cook.  A great dinner for a work night.  The key thing for me is to get the water on for the rice as soon as I start preparing as that takes about as long as the chicken to cook.


chicken with basil and chilli Thai chicken stir fry with basil and chilli plus a new logo

I followed the recipe instructions but to add a bit more detail, I got the oil up to a high heat before adding the garlic and chilli.  Because I used strips, the chicken cooked quickly – it was no longer pink in about 3 minutes.  Once the chicken was no longer pink, I turned my stove down to medium low as I use an electric stove and it is slow to warm up and cool down.

Like quite a few stir-fries,this one is super low in calories – one serve is about 250 calories.  In terms of cooking for one, there is very little wastage.  I didn’t add quite a whole chilli but that is it in terms of leftover bits and pieces. I cook quite a bit of Asian food so most of the other ingredients are items I keep in my cupboard and use regularly.

Note: I paid Ashleigh to design my logo, this is not a sponsored post.


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