Tuesday, 24 September 2013

With the warm weather arriving we start to think less of slow roasted lamb and winter puddings and more about lighter healthier meals, especially salads that take advantage of the fantastic produce that comes into season over Spring and Summer.

Last night for dinner we had a very simple salad that took about 10 minutes to make and was absolutely delicious.... even the kids loved it!!!   (Jamie Oliver would have been proud!)

Warm Spinach Salad with Chicken and Mushrooms

Baby Spinach
Roasted Pine Nuts
Sliced Mushrooms lightly sautéed in a little bit of butter
Diced Bacon
Feta Cheese  - choose a creamy variety
Marinated Chicken thighs -  BBQ'd and sliced

You can vary the quantity of the ingredients and the flavour of the marinade depending on how you like your salads,  toss it all together and drizzle with just a little bit of olive oil.......light, simple, easy and YUM.

The other favourite ingredient I am using at the moment is Chick Peas,  you can soak your own or use canned ones they are just as good.  Mix with what ever you like, but I like them with a little Rocket or Spinach, cucumber, avocado, cherry tomatoes, goats cheese, some seeds for crunch (eg, pumpkin, sesame etc) and a drizzle of lemon juice and olive oil.  Its incredibly good for you,  is a great source of protein and keeps you going for hours.

The best thing about salads is you don't need a recipe and its a great way to use up the left over ingredients in the crisper.

Friday, 13 September 2013

Guillaume Zika visits North Turramurra

A few weeks ago my husband and I and some friends had dinner at Public Dining Room in Balmoral, on offer was a special 6 course degustation menu cooked by a visiting 2 Star Michelin Chef.

Guillaume Zika was head Chef at Hibiscus in London until he arrived in Australia in June, on Friday evenings he is taking over the kitchen at The Public Dining Room.  During dinner he visited our table several times to explain the sumptuous dish in front of us.  The dinner was sensational and Guilluame very charming ..... long story short, Guillaume agreed to share some secrets with me.

I was a little nervous in the beginning,  but I didn't need to be, Guillaume was very generous sharing his knowledge and techniques, we had great fun making a Parmesan Custard, a Pink Grapefruit Mousee and an Apple Foam, the flavours were amazing and so delicate the two hours we spent together in Anna Lou's Kitchen flew by............I feel inspired by his creativeness !

For the rest of September and October Guillaume is offering a 3 Course " Night in Paris" every  Friday night at Public Dining Room, we are heading back on 4 October,  in the mean time I am going to be spending time creating some new and I hope creative menu items......

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Website Launched

I am very excited to announce the launch of Anna Lou's Kitchen's new Website www.annalouskitchen.com

The new website will make it easier for my clients old and new to view my menus.  It will also help you to get a deeper understanding of what Anna Lou's Kitchen is and how we can help you out with your next function.

The expanding gallery of photos will make your mouth water.

Take a look and let me know what you think.

Onto more delicious things........... FOOD  and whats cooking,  now we are getting into the colder months we can start to think warm hearty meals and a glass of red (the only things I like about Winter).

It's time to bring out the slow cooker if you don't have one don't panic, most dishes can be cooked just as effectively in the oven,   the trick is to sear your meat well first and to make sure you have a dish you can pop in the oven with the lid on.

If you don't have a recipe  I find searing in a combination of  olive oil and butter increases your flavour don't forget the salt and pepper,  throwing in some onions, mushies and of course red wine will bring out the best in red meat.

If I am planning a family Sunday at home, I will often get a leg or shoulder of lamb from my favourite butcher ( Exclusive Meats at North Turramurra)  place it in the dish with whole garlic cloves, rosemary and white wine pop the lid on and cook for at least 5 hours at about 140 degrees.

The house will smell fantastic, it will warm it up saving on those heating bills and dinner is ready so you can sit down and relax at the end of the weekend.

Enjoy... next time some ideas on  delicious easy winter desserts.

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Perfect Entree to Introduce New Friends

Have you ever planned a dinner party with a few couples that don't know each other but you are sure they'll get on....... then closer to the time you think "What have I done... this will be a disaster"

The key to introducing new friends to each other is to make sure you're around to keep the conversation flowing,  you can't do this if you are in the kitchen all night preparing a beautiful but time consuming meal.

I find if you keep the pre-dinner drink time to half an hour 45 minutes and then move straight into the entree the conversation will flow.

The perfect entree is something that can be shared around the table and will break the ice,  on these occasions I like to do an Antipasto Platter.

A big platter in the middle of the table will have your guests raving about the presentation and will also have them serving each other.... everyone will start to relax and enjoy themselves

Even as we come into the cooler months an Antipasto Platter makes a delicious start to the meal,  the key is to use good quality ingredients, buy your prosciutto and salami from a good deli,  and the rest you can do yourself.

Zucchini, eggplant, capsicum, asparagus look fantastic on a platter together,  the trick is to make sure you slice your vegetables nice and thin use a good quality olive oil and lots of garlic,  brush the vegies on both sides and char grill on the barbecue, this can be done the morning of or even the day before your dinner party.  I like to marinate my mushrooms at least 24 hours ahead of serving with olive oil, lemon juice and lots of continental parsley.

Add to your platter some marinated Feta you have bought or marinated your self, some olives and serve with good quality Italian bread.

You have the perfect entree that is prepared way in advance and will encourage your friends to relax and enjoy the food and the company

They'll all think they should have met years ago.