Saturday, June 19, 2010

Weekend Cooking: Curtis Stone and Coles

Curtis Stone is a name that may be familiar to those of you who live outside Australia. He has done some cookery shows both in the UK and the US (currently on a show called Take Home Chef), has appeared on Oprah and he was also in the most recent series of Celebrity Apprentice. At one point he even made it onto a Sexiest Man Alive list. I appreciate a man who can cook as much as the next girl!

He originally comes from Melbourne, and got his start in TV on a show called Surfing the Menu. Most recently he has been involved with one of our major supermarket chains promoting easy and tasty meals for families. Some of them are supposed to be achievable on a budget of less than $10, which is always good too.

Last weekend I tried my second recipe from this series, so I thought I would share those two recipes from Curtis, just out of interest.

The first recipe we tried a few weeks ago was Fettucine Bolognese. Like many other people bolognese is a favourite in our house. If ever I can't get the boy to eat then cook bolognese and he will be coming back for seconds. However, I know that I have cooked it from scratch maybe 20 years ago, but most of the time I cheat and use a jar. The idea of cooking from scratch was a little intimidating,  but in the end it was actually pretty easy, and very tasty. I do have to say though this is a recipe that doesn't reheat all that well.

Fettucine Bolognese

  • 2 tbsp olive oil, (from pantry)
  • 1 brown onion, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 medium carrots, finely chopped
  • 250 g Portobello mushrooms, sliced
  • 500 g mince
  • 400 g whole peeled Italian tomatoes
  • 350 g  fettuccine pasta
  • 1 cup fresh basil leaves, finely chopped
  • salt and pepper, (from pantry)

1. Heat 2 tbsp oil in a large frying pan. Add the beef mince, season with salt and pepper and stir to break up the lumps. Cook for 5-7 mins over high heat until browned. Add the onion and cook for 2 mins then add the garlic, carrots and mushrooms, cook for 2 mins until just softened. Add the tomatoes and simmer for 30 mins.

2. Cook the fettuccine according to packet directions.

3. Toss fettuccine with sauce in fettuccine cooking pan. Mix in basil.

The second recipe we tried from the series was Chicken and Leek Pie, and I have to say that I really, really liked this one. Unfortunately the boy wasn't quite so keen. In fact, that is a recurring them in our cooking adventures at the moment. He loves to help cook whatever it is that we are making - the chopping, the stirring, reading the recipe and getting it all together - he just won't eat it! Very frustrating, especially as I would quite happily make this over and over. You could make this a mid week meal as well by buying pre cooked chicken and shredding that and therefore reducing the preparation time right down.I didn't use the sesame seeds, and if I do make it again I might throw in some mushrooms or sweet corn or something.

Chicken and Leek Pie

· 4 chicken thighs
· salt and freshly ground pepper
· 1 tsp olive oil
· 2 tbsp butter
· 1 onion, finely diced
· 1 leek, cut in half lengthwise and then into 1cm strips
· 1 tbsp wholegrain mustard
· ¼ cup plain flour
· 1 cup chicken stock,
· ¼ cup thickened cream
· ½ tbsp tarragon
· 1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed
· 1 egg, beaten with tbsp milk to glaze pastry
· sesame seeds, garnish

1. Preheat oven to 200º. Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil. Place on large baking tray and roast for 15 minutes. Turn and roast for a further 15 minutes until cooked and golden brown. Set aside to cool slightly and reduce oven temp to 180º. Reserve the pan juices. When cool enough to handle, shred chicken into large chunks and place in a bowl. Discard sinew, bones and skin.

2. Melt butter in large heavy saucepan over medium heat. Add onions and leeks and sauté for 5 minutes or until tender but not browned. Stir in mustard, then flour and cook over low heat for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Slowly whisk in chicken stock, cream and pan juices. Simmer, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes or until sauce thickens. Stir in shredded chicken, tarragon and season to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside to cool, then refrigerate.

3. To assemble the pie, spoon the chicken mixture into a baking dish. Drape thawed puff pastry over the baking dish and press firmly around the rim to seal. Cut slits into the top, brush with egg and milk wash and garnish with sesame seeds. Bake in oven for 50 minutes or until pastry is golden brown. Set aside to cool slightly before serving.

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  1. Those both look yummy! I'll have to give them a try some time.

  2. Thanks for including photos of the dishes...I'm not big on leeks, but that looks good. I loved Curtis on Celebrity Apprentice.

  3. He's a cutie! I love reading a new recipe and savoring the possibilities then trying to figure out if I can get all of the ingredients.

  4. One of my nephews was like, but now that he's grown up, he's a pretty good eater.

    I like the ingredients in the spaghetti sauce. I used t make it from scratch all the time. Now I'm often lazy and go for a jar.

    The chicken and leek dish sounds very good. I don't often cook with cream but that little bit in a whole casserole wouldn't hurt. I can see that a little something could be added -- maybe something green: broccoli, zucchini . . .

  5. Beth, I was thinking about throwing in mushrooms if I made it again. I served it with grean beans and broccoli so got my green vegies that way.

    Bybee, that's my favourite part of cooking over the weekend. I don't like cooking during the week because you can't easily go through that process as easily

    Serena, I haven't seen any of the Celebrity Apprentice, although it is on here on one of the cable channels.

    Daphne, I like that they are relatively simple.